Sheffield Steelkings 10 – 2 Manchester Mayhem
In their third season of existence and after 19 matches played in the British Para Ice Hockey League, the Sheffield Steelkings could finally call themselves victors after a stunning 10-2 win over Roses rivals the Manchester Mayhem, thanks to a seven-goal haul for Gary Farmer.
It was only a month ago when the sides played out a fiery game at the Altrincham Ice Rink and saw the meeting going the way of the Mayhem on that occasion, but you could that this rivalry was being to catch fire and look more like a competitive rivalry with a new look Sheffield side this year.
Sheffield who have long been the whipping boys of the Para Ice Hockey league since joining three seasons ago, it has saw them suffering hammers left, right and centre over the past couple of seasons and looked like they might never pick up a win. This season though has saw a change of fortune to the South Yorkshire club, so with a big crowd at Ice Sheffield and still buoyed by their recent performances so far this year, it saw the home side looking for their first win in their history.
Manchester came into the game short benched yet again, as they were missing three key players in their line-up, with Rob Allen out and the duo of Dean Lahan and Dominic Cosgrove. Coach for the Mayhem in Pete Hagan saw him needing to draft in Tony King from the Kingston Kestrels as a guest player and also handed a debut to Elizabeth Turner for the match.
From the drop of the puck it saw only one side truly in the contest at all, and that wasn’t the visiting Manchester side. With thirty-three seconds gone in the game, Gary Farmer put Sheffield ahead and that goal seemed to set the hosts up for the rest of the contest after such a early stage.
Both teams enjoyed spells of possession with the puck and saw Pat Bailey having the visitors first shot on goal, but stand-in goalie Jake Oakley made a good stop between the pipes for the Steelkings after Sheffield had both regular goalies missing for the game.
At the other end it saw Dougy Hankinson in the Mayhem net denying Mark Briggs for the home side, after he was forced to make a couple of saves from long range efforts by Gary Farmer. Sheffield then moved two nil ahead at 8.52 on the clock, with Gary Farmer shooting high on Hankinson in the Mayhem goal after a nice cross ice pass by Caroline Bonner saw the forward cutting in on goal and making it count.
Manchester then called a timeout to try re-assess the early damage done against them, as defensive they were caught slacking and offensively they were unable to generate much at all.
The visitors then found themselves with a golden chance to possibly cut the lead in half soon after, after a Karl Nicholson clearance saw the puck heading up ice and into the path of Anthony Booth who had Pat Bailey with him in support on a breakaway, but they were caught offside much to the relief of the home side. Bailey then found himself serving a two minute penalty towards the back end of the first, with the Manchester man being called for teeing and saw the visiting bench not happy at all with the call by the officials.
The Mayhem seemed to play a dangerous game of passing it around their zone while a man light, and that method would could back to hurt them as Gary Farmer gained possession of the puck in their zone and fired high over the head of the netminder for a natural hat-trick at 14.17.
Sheffield moved out to a 4-0 lead on 16.12, when Farmer was on target yet again for the Steelkings to bring up his fourth of the game and you did feel that the contest was over already so early into the second. Majority of the play was down the Mayhem end and had the visitors lacking in ideas and looked all at sea for a lot of the time too.
Barry Grayson almost made it 5-0 for Sheffield soon after with a near post effort, but the puck pinged off the iron and away from danger. The home side didn’t need to wait too long to extend their lead further though, as a long range effort by Mark Briggs saw the puck going into the Mayhem net for a fifth goal to the Steelkings at 25.46 and that was game, set and match.
Manchester were looking anything but their normal selves in the contest, as the Mayhem players were making one poor decision after another and it was almost like the team had never played together before. When the visitors finally got behind the Steelkings defence and bearing down on goal it saw the horn sounding for an end to play in the second period, as the Mayhem looked like not just losing the contest but possibly being shutout by the hosts too.
In the final period the Steelkings hammered home their advantage with a further five goals to their name and they didn’t just beat their rivals, but they humiliate them as well. The Mayhem were architects of their own downfall at times and that was shown on the hosts sixth-goal, after Karl Nicholson was left to battle on his own against three Steelkings before Gary Farmer picked up the puck and burst away up ice and saw his initial shot saved but Barry Grayson was on hand to tuck home the rebound at 30.58.
At 32.20 it saw Farmer grabbing his fifth goal of the game and the hosts seventh of the match, as the forward skated up the left side and fired a low shot that somehow managed to get by the goalie and and make it 7-0. The first real showing of any threatening intent by Manchester brought them a goal at 34.43, when Karl Nicholson skated into the Sheffield zone and played a lovely pass towards Anthony Booth in the Steelkings zone and the Mayhem forward composed himself and fired past Jake Oakley in the home cage for a 7-1 game.
The visitors tried to build on that goal and saw them coming forward once more in attack through Pat Bailey and Anthony Booth as they found themselves on a 2-on-0 for Manchester, but Bailey overran the puck and that summed up the visitors play in the game. Sheffield continued to punish a hapless Manchester side and saw them scoring two quick goals from the stick of Gary Farmer, as he took his tally for the match up to a magnificent seven and was a case now of how many more goals would they rack up.
With the match all but sewn up now, it saw the Steelkings side turning on the style and a the home side netting one last goal in the game. Their 10th goal saw a breakaway from Gary Farmer who played a pass across goal intended for Barry Grayson who mis-controlled it, however the puck fell nicely to Mark Colquitt and the Sheffield man back- handed the puck in for the hosts and complete a miserable afternoon for the travelling Mayhem side.
Manchester did score a late consolation goal through Karl Nicholson at 40.59 and that saw the Mayhem having the last word in this contest game, after Booth returned the favour in kind to his teammate and the Mayhem captain put it home for a 10-2 score line. As the game entered the closing stages of the game, it saw the home side revelling in the clubs first ever win when the horn sounded and the joy on every Sheffield players face was there for all to see.
For Sheffield, the win was a culmination of hard work and graft to get their first points on the board and maiden win under their belts too after a wait of two and a bit years, as capitalising on errors by their opponents and some good play saw them worthy winners in the game. In the case of Manchester, it back to basics and look to regroup before their daunting trip down to Peterborough Phantoms next Sunday evening.