Steelers 4-0 Stars

By Kris Smith

Stars were unable to build on last week’s win and were shut out for this first time this season after losing 4-0 in Yorkshire.

Matt Bissonnette dropped out the Dundee line-up while Drydn Dow was welcomed back after a brief spell out through injury. Sheffield’s latest signing, Matt Climie did not make his debut as Jackson Whistle was given the start. Kieran Brown and Jordan Griffin had both been sent out on loan and did not ice for Sheffield.

An early save from Pontus Sjögren denied the Steelers a quick lead as they created the first real chance in the second minute. The home side continued to cause trouble for the Stars defence in the opening minutes before Sheffield defender, Aaron Johnson’s was next to be denied by the Stars goalie.

Dundee got the first powerplay of the game as Johnson was penalised for cross-checking in the sixth minute but they failed to capitalise on the man advantage, Stars had gotten some good shots off but nothing that troubled Jackson Whistle in the Steelers net. Steelers then took the lead through Justin Buzzeo in the ninth minute, he glided in behind the play and tapped in a loose rebound after Sjögren made the stop on the first shot.

Sheffield were still dominating possession and after one shot was saved the rebound evaded Stefan Della Rovere and that kept Dundee just a goal behind. Stars were clearing the puck well before Della Rovere was in a dangerous position again, this time he finished off a strong period of play with a good shot that was held by Sjögren. Omar Pacha’s side were back on the powerplay when Ryan Martinelli was called for holding Jordan Cownie in the 15th minute.

Tom Barrasso’s men were down a player but were the side that capitalised as Jonas Westerling went clean through on a breakaway. The Swede finished through the legs of the Dundee goalie to double the lead in 15th minute. Steelers then killed off the remaining time on the penalty before the first period concluded at 2-0.

Lukas Lundvald rattled his shot off the mask of Whistle inside the first minute of the second stanza but that would be as close as he got to finding the back of the net. Dundee’s Connor Cox was boxed for a late hit in the 22nd minute but they were able to see out the two-minute penalty. Defenceman, Mike Sullivan broke up the home side’s last chance on the powerplay with a sliding block.

Star continued to defend well but struggled to create any dangerous offensive chances, however, a big chance for Stars finally came when Cownie got his shot on target. Although, it was denied by Whistle, before at the other end, Jonathon Phillips seen his effort gloved by Sjögren. Steelers drew a penalty on the play as they were called for too-many men, Evan McGrath served the minor in the 33rd minute.

They again killed off the Stars powerplay and were back on their own powerplay as Jordan Kelsall was boxed for cross-checking in the 36th minute. Stars played well on the penalty kill and kept the Steelers away from the net before the buzzer sounded, ending the second period still at 2-0.

The third period began with the action going end-to-end with Sheffield still having the better of the chances. Cox fired a good shot in 47th minute that forced Whistle to make a quick save and Stars were breaking up the play well but struggled to make anything happen in the Sheffield end.

Cownie was then the leader in a dangerous 3-on-1 attack but a Sheffield defender made a vital interception to cut out Cownie’s pass. Stars were back on the powerplay when Tanner Eberle was called for slashing in the 50th minute, although their man advantage was cut short when Fabrizio Ricci was charged with goaltender interference in the 51st minute.

Whilst on the powerplay, Sheffield’s Josh Pitt used the screen of Jordan Owens to shoot past Sjögren and move the home side 3-0 into the lead in the 53rd minute. Martinelli was back in the penalty box for cross-checking nine seconds after the restart. Captain Jonathon Phillips made it 4-0 when he finished from close range on the pass from Ben O’Connor in the 56th minute.

Stars pushed for a late consolation goal when McGrath was boxed for hooking in the 57th minute but ended the night zero for six on the powerplay. ‘Man of the Match’ prizes were given to Jonas Westerling and Dundee netminder, Pontus Sjögren.

Pacha’s men face Belfast Giants on Sunday and are aiming to be the only side to defeat the in-form Giants on their Scottish triple-header weekend.