Dramatic win for Sheffield: Steelers 5-4 Cardiff Devils (final score)
Sheffield Steelers were toasting their first win of the season over title favourites Cardiff Devils this evening.
Anthony DeLuca rattled in four goals as he and his Sheffield team-mates impressed the big home crowd with one of their most dynamic performances of the campaign.
They were under the cosh at the end, but deserved both points.
The only downside was that Ben O'Connor limped off with a leg injury.
The teams had been playing out what appeared to be a tight, goalless first session. With one second left on the clock though, winger DeLuca put the home side ahead.
League-leading Cardiff, with five straight wins under their belt, had started at full pelt, even getting their fourth line on the ice inside the first minute.
They are a team that seems to have so many options.
And they were unlucky not to take the lead when Mike Hedden hit the outside of Steelers' post.
With three League games left in the season, Steelers need points to ensure play off action and Robert Dowd's individual skill threatened to engineer a chance at the other end.
Steelers, who required one win for 300 wins at home game in EIHL league games, were fortunate when Stephen Dixon missed a sitter on the power play near the end of the first period.
At the last second of the period DeLuca stroked the puck over the line from close range - an effort that survived review with penalty box officials.
Cardiff bench officials blasted the referee in the players' corridor in the interval.
They will have been even less happy in the second period, when Steelers scored two in 24 seconds.
First, DeLuca outskated two markers and thrashed the puck high past Ben Bowns, at 25;25.
The Canadian just needs a sniff at goal sometimes - and his pace and precision was awesome.
His goal was followed straight away when Jonathan Phillips was first to a rebound to make it 3-0.
The double-strike came after O'Connor had limped off, seemingly unable to put any weight on his left leg.
Devils got on the board when a long range shot from Stephen Dixon flashed past Jackson Whistle.
But DeLuca notched his hat-trick straight away to preserve the three goal cushion.
It didn't last long.
The puck crept through Davey Phillips legs and Joey Martin slotted in Devils' second of the night.
Charles Linglet wasted a chance after an Aaron Johnson giveaway - blasting wise in a one-on-one with Jackson.
The third period didn't disappoint as a spectacle either.
Mike Hedden scored a rebound at 41:45 to give the Welsh fresh impetus.
But DeLuca wasn't finished for the night and scored through Bowns' legs at 47:25.
It was a soft goal from the goalie's point of view...but few people in the Arena were grumbling.
Jordan Owens could have added another with three minutes remaining.
Davey Phillips took a holding call to inject more nerves into the home crowd and Devils closed the game to 5-4.