Lightning strikes late: Sheffield Steelers 4-3 Milton Keynes

Matt Marquardt power play first goal for Steelers
Matt Marquardt power play first goal for Steelers

A goal 18 seconds from time saved Sheffield Steelers’ blushes.

They had gone behind twice against Elite newcomers Milton Keynes Lightning, but ground out their first win in three games.

Steelers were unconvincing - but the biggest surprise was the quality of the visitors.

The home club’s high command has been relieved, recently, by the form of Colton Fretter, as other ‘big guns’ had not been firing.

And it was the 35-year-old veteran who put his side ahead after five minutes, beating former Nottingham Panthers’ custodian Miika Wiikman.

Fans were hoping for more, given last Sunday’s shut out by Belfast. But the two that followed in a 49-second spree were from the Buckinghamshire side, north Americans Francis Verreault-Paul and Paul Phillips doing the damage.

Sheffield Steelers goal against Milton Keynes Lightning

Sheffield Steelers goal against Milton Keynes Lightning

Steelers needed an import to step forward - and the telling contribution came from Matt Marquardt, neatly deflecting home his first goal for the club.

One Steelers player had talked about not taking MK “lightly” - and that was reinforced when Lightning went 3-2 ahead 53 seconds into the middle period, Kevin King finding the net at iceSheffield.

MKL were enjoying the event and would have wreaked more carnage had Ervins Mustukovs not denied them with a double-save and another shot hit the net rather than the post.

Nobody in a home short could complain about being behind.

Ben O’Connor started to ruffle the visitors’ feathers, getting the puck in deep and at 27;30 Sheffield were level for a third time, centreman John Armstrong nicking his seventh goal of the domestic season.

MKL have some smooth passers and they continued to pose a threat and as the game entered its final phase it was hard to pick a winner.

Levi Nelson had a chance to smash-and-grab the two points in regulation but it was the steadier aim of man of the match Armstrong, with 18 seconds left, that delivered the win.

RESULTS

Wednesday 27th September

Elite League

Dundee Stars 0 Cardiff Devils 4

Nottingham Panthers 5 Belfast Giants 4

Sheffield Steelers 4 Milton Keynes Lightning 3

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