Epic win: Sheffield Steelers are Play Off kings after 6-5 double-overtime victory over Cardiff Devils

A bundle at the end boards
A bundle at the end boards

Sheffield Steelers came back from the dead to become Play Off champions tonight.

They went 3-1 down in the first period to league champions Cardiff Devils, two of the goals conceded on the penalty kill.

Mathieu Roy

Mathieu Roy

But they romped to a 4-1 second period to seize the advantage after 40 minutes.

After an epic 34 minutes of overtime, Levi Nelson lashed the puck high to win the trophy.

It ruined Cardiff's plans to become Grand Slam winners.

And it severely upset the Nottingham Panthers fans at the Nottingham NIC.

John Armstrong after scoring

John Armstrong after scoring

The match was mired in controversy after just 36 seconds.

John Armstrong collided with goalie Ben Bowns as he drove the net.

While face down on the ice, Armstrong was cross-checked in the back by Mark Louis. The result was a refereeing call for interference against Armstrong but nothing against Louis.

Steelers fans were still burning with injustice as Guillaume Doucet powered home from the right circle with 17 seconds remaining on the power play.

Play Off trophy

Play Off trophy

It was Armstrong though, who breathed life into Steelers straight away.

He flashed down the right flank and blasted high past Bowns for 1-1 at 3;52.

Devils hit the post and there followed a series of missed chances.

Colton Fretter should have buried a chance between the circles and David Brine and Sean Bentivoglio both missed golden opportunities for the Welsh.

Steelers in warm up

Steelers in warm up

But Joey Haddad wasn't so wasteful - he buried the puck twice past Ervins Mustukovs in a three-minute blitz.

So Steelers went in for the interval 3-1 down - seemingly facing a massive hill to climb in stopping Devils winning the Grand Slam.

There were suggestions that Steelers' coach Paul Thompson was spat on as he walked back to the dressing room.

He reacted angrily after the incident. But it must have helped his team-talk as his skaters responded brilliantly in a hugely entertaining middle session.

Initially, Bowns appeared to be putting on a coaching clinic as Sheffield's big guns pounded his goal.

But he was beaten by a soft goal - possibly a deflection from a low Geoff Walker shot.

Cardiff called a Time Out - their bench must have sensed what was to come.

The teams were level when Colton Fretter virtually danced the puck around Bowns from close range to make it 3-3.

Astonishingly Sheffield took the lead for the first time on the Power Play, Levi Nelson scoring in his fourth straight game.

There was a set-back for Thompson's men as Layne Ulmer levelled for Devils,

But Sheffield were dominating the puck and the cool head and hands of Walker made it 5-4 at 37;23.

Walker hasn't made such a telling contribution this season - he'd saved the best to last.

But the final period was only 54 seconds old when Andrew Hotham scored on the power play - it was another set-back for Steelers having done so well to get in front.

Patrick Asselin then hit the post for Devils.

Steelers' fans got behind their team as Jonathan Phillips and Fretter both had great chances to settle it.

But the game went into sudden death overtime - and chances came and went without either team finding the rigging - 20 gruelling minutes came and went.

In the second period of overtime Nelson whisked home the winner - his fiftht goal in four games and the most important in his life.