Sheffield Steeldogs 3 – 5 Swindon Wildcats
Swindon Wildcats moved up to fifth in the English Premier League Ice Hockey table with a 5-3 win over the Sheffield Steeldogs at Ice Sheffield and in doing so leapfrogged the Guildford Flames in the standings. Three goals in the third period saw the Wildcats taking the league points in what was an eventful third period and had the hosts emotions getting the better of them.
From the drop of the puck it saw play taking place mostly in the Sheffield end with the away side building up some good early pressure in the contest and had the home side on the foot back early doors. However it was the hosts that broke the deadlock against the run of play, when Adrian Palak skated down the left wing and his shot took a deflection off Neil Liddiard’s stick that caught out Stevie Lyle at his near post for a 1-0 lead to the Steeldogs after 2-08 gone .
Sheffield throughout the game ran into penalty trouble and was one of their downfalls that tributed to the downfall overall. Lewis Baldwin sat for an Interference call and gave the visitors a powerplay opportunity and tied the game up shortly after through Polish forward Tomasz Malasinski, when his shot beat James Hadfield to find the back of the net at 5-47 and make it a 1-1 game. Swindon was bossing the first period of play and their shots on goal tally told that story too, with the Wildcats outshooting their opponent 21-6 in the opening period.
Despite having more shots on target they just weren’t able to convert them into goals chances, but eventually they doubled their lead in the final minute of the first with another powerplay goal, this time coming from Jordan Kelsall as he made it 2-1 to give the Cats the lead for the time first time in the game as the teams headed into the break.
Swindon almost went 3-1 ahead, after an effort by Joonas Hoog saw his shot pinging off the goal post and had former Cats goalie in James Hadfield beaten all ends up by the shot. Sheffield then began to mount a bit of a rally midway through the period and had them catching out their opponents with some quick plays up ice with a couple of odd man rushes. The hosts you felt were badly missing that someone to bury their chances and drive to the net, something that the visitors had in with a few of their forwards.
With the visitors having by far the better of the chances in the game, they were being a quite wasteful with their efforts on goal and almost seemed to think that they had their opponents where they wanted them. All the possession that the Wildcats had throughout the contest at that point of time was counting for nothing, despite leading by a goal but the home side soon turned the game on its head and made the traveling side pay, thanks to two goals in the final ten minutes of the second.
Firstly Stanislav Lascek made it 2-2 at 33:58 to get the Steeldogs back level and then minutes later a lovely move by Macaulay Heywood saw him entering the Swindon zone before spinning and shooting on the turn to beat Lyle for 3-2 at 37:02. For the final three minutes of the period it saw the hosts creating a couple of chances late on and looked more threatening than they had done for the large part of the contest.
In the truth the period coming to an end was a bad timing for the Steeldogs, as they were looking good and the break gave their opponents time to reevaluate their game plan heading into the third.
Play in the Third period was packed full of incident with former Cardiff Devils and Sheffield Steeler Phil Hill tying the game up on the powerplay to make it 3-3 and record the third powerplay goal of the night for the Wildcats. Over a minute later and one of the flashpoints of the game took place, after Max Birbraer was sent sliding across the ice after tangling with Arnoldas Bosas off the puck and had match referee Stefan Hogarth sending Bosas off early to hit the showers with a checking to the head call at 44-02.
That put the visitors on a five minute powerplay and saw Birbraer who was involved in the incident that led to the penalty happening and he netted the Wildcats fourth of the game at 46-09. That goal clearly deflated the stubborn Sheffield side at that point in time and worst was to come for the home side, when a coming together involving a Swindon player and Steeldogs captain Ben Morgan, saw both their legs getting tangled up and had the Steeldogs man clutching his left knee and was in clear agony with the trainer coming on to give him treatment.
The home fans felt that calls were going only one way and it wasn’t theirs, as after Bosas was thrown out of the game and now their main defenseman was forced out of the game from an accident coming together, it had the home fans venting their anger towards the referee. With Morgan being helped off the ice and no call forthcoming, the Sheffield fans were left fuming along with the home sides bench.
Steeldogs coach Greg Wood pulled the netminder late on for the extra attacker to try and find a tying goal, but when the hosts were trying to set up a play while coming out from behind their own goal, it saw the puck coming loose towards Robin Kovar and the Czech forward was on hand to shoot it into an empty net for 5-3 and seal the victory for the visitors at 58-26.
That wasn’t the end of the fun and games though. As with 29 seconds of the game left to play it saw emotions spilling over with namely Sheffield’s Callum Pattinson getting some frustration out, after he charged on goal and sent Jan Kostal flying into Stevie Lyle which prompted a few pushes and saw the Sheffield man throw a flurry of punches at his opponent. As he was being escorted away off the ice by the linesman and towards the locker room, it saw him miming wearing a belt around his waist towards to the away fans in attendance.
Players grabbed a partner during the melee and saw tensions threatening to boil over late in the game, in which had been played in a competitive fashion overall. Sheffield’s coach Greg Wood was sent to the back by the referee for speaking out of term for the referee’s liking and had Pattinson receiving 29 of the 83 penalty minutes handed out by Hogarth after the incident had come to halt.
The Steeldogs man received a match penalty along with a 2+2 for roughing and a charging call too, while team mate Charles Thompson collected 24 penalty minutes for his troubles too, with Thompson picking up a 2+2 for leaving the bench and a game misconduct as well.
Sheffield picked up a game misconduct on the bench which was against Wood for his outburst to the official, meanwhile Swindon’s Jan Kostal sat for the traditional 2+2 for roughing after his altercation too. With calm being restored it saw the final moments being played out and have the Wildcats lying 10 points behind Basingstoke and have it seemingly now a battle between themselves and Guildford for the fifth-place.
For Sheffield they battled hard all game, but until the Bosas incident and Morgan picking up an injury, it saw the Steeldogs losing their composure and undone a lot of their good work that saw them leading 3-2 at one point. As it was the story of the game was their ill-discipline and Swindon punishing them on the powerplay.
Sheffield: Adrian Palak 1+0, Stanislav Lascek 1+0, Macaulay Heywood 1+0, Ben Morgan 0+1, Thomas Relf 0+1, Donatas Kumeliauskas 0+1, Cole Shudra 0+1, Arnoldas Bosas 0+1, Tomas Brcko 0+1.
Swindon: Phil Hill 1+1, Tomasz Malasinski 1+1, Jordan Kelsall 1+0, Max Birbraer 1+0, Robin Kovar 1+0, Ben Nethersell 0+3, Jan Kostal 0+2, Jonas Hoog 0+2
Sheffield: James Hadfield – Shots 45 Saves 41 (91.11%) Empty Net: 1 shot
Swindon: Stevie Lyle – Shots 24 Saves 21 (87.50%)
Penalty In Minutes:
Sheffield : PIM 120 Swindon : 20 PIM
Sheffield 1/3 (33.3% ) Swindon 4/8 (50.0%)