Sheffield Steelers drop more league points, this time at Guildford Flames (4-2 loss)
Sheffield's hopes of keeping their Elite League season alive by embarking on a consistent run went up in smoke at Guildford Flames.
Steelers, who had a 50% win-lose ratio in their previous six away matches, went behind twice before an Ian Watters’ hat-trick secured the points for Flames.
The 4-2 home win sees Guildford - who Steelers have battered 7-1 and 7-3 this season - leapfrog over Sheffield in the table.
The South Yorkshire side are now a humble sixth, again.
Ervins Mustukovs had kept a clean sheet and he was in uncompromising form between the pipes in the first period.
Steelers, who had creative forward Andreas Jamtin back from suspension, carved out a few opportunities, leading scoring d-men Ben O’Connor and Mark Matheson going close, while Tim Wallace got contact on a shot to tip just wide.
It was Surrey side that broke through, though, a minute before the interval.
Canadian left wing Rhett Rachinski had the decisive touch after approach work from Calle Ackered and Brennan Yadlowski.
Sheffield rallied on a power play after Ian Watters took a hooking minor and Matt Marquardt scored an equaliser which successfully went through the video review process. Matheson and Andreas Valdix assisted.
A chance to take the game by the scruff of the next arrived in the shape of a five-on-three power play for Steelers, for 109 seconds, but Chris Carrozzi, in Guildford’s goal backstopped the kill.
Steelers upped the pressure and Mathieu Roy was halted by Carrozzi at 43:49.
But they were caught out when Ian Watters turns and flicked home a backhander.
Sheffield iced a youthful line of Cole Shudra, Liam Kirk and Kieran Brown and Kirk had a tip just over the cross bar.
The visitors came back from behind for a second time; Levi Nelson tucked home a rebound at 51:44.
However parity only lasted for three minutes when Watters snatched his second of the night (assists John Dunbar, Craige.)
Mustukovs was pulled for the extra skater with 57 seconds left but Watters claimed an empty-netter.