SHEFFIELD Steelers can close in on the Elite League title this weekend, after a dogged win over rivals Belfast Giants on Wednesday.
The victory put Ben Simon’s men three points clear of Belfast at the top of the table, and should Steelers win all three of their remaining fixtures, the title will be theirs.
On Sunday Sheffield travel to face the Newcastle Vipers, and the South Yorkshire side will be full of confidence after they ground out a 4-2 win over Belfast in midweek.
Despite creating little in the way of chances, Steelers took the lead at 9.40 in the first period, Joey Talbot squeezing the puck in at the near post after a scramble in the Belfast crease.
It was 2-0 before the end of the period, Jeff Legue scoring on the powerplay at 18.21.
But back came the visitors to IceSheffield, scoring the only goal of the second period when Mike Hoffman shot the puck off Steelers defenceman Mark Thomas’ skate to make it 2-1, with a two man advantage.
Giants clawed it back to 2-2 early in the final period, another powerplay goal, this time from Brett Hemmingway, roofing the puck from an acute angle on the backhand, with Steelers netminder Ervins Mustukovs prone in his crease.
Much to the horror of the home supporters their side fell behind a little under two minutes later, Michael Jacobsen slapping a shot home as he skated into the Steelers zone.
Talbot and British star Jason Hewitt ensured the Sheffield fans went home happy, sending them into raptures with goals at 48.46 and 54.06, Simon’s Steelers shutting the Giants out for the final five minutes to take a vital win.