Steelers’ league season is not over.
But it did have an iceberg sized hole drilled into it at Sheffield Arena as Cardiff Devils continued their seemingly inexorable pursuit of back-to-back championships.
The Welsh won the game in the first period and suffocated Steelers’ power plays at critical times.
They were worthy champions last year - and it looks same again this time.
The gap between them and fifth placed Steelers is 16 points.
Steelers, who had lost three out the four previous league games to Cardiff, were overpowered in the first period.
Devils, so quick, well-drilled and calm in their puck distribution, took 30 seconds to impose themselves, Joey Martin almost walking the puck in.
While d-men Miika Franssila and Jonas Ronnberg powered shots from range, Steelers attackers were closed out.
Centreman Andreas Jamtin lost possession as he tried to leave his own zone and Matt Pope doubled the Welsh lead.
Sheffield got their wires crossed as they sought to come back, Colton Fretter heading to the bench as the puck was passed to where he’d been positioned.
They were 3-0 down at 16:30. Mark Richardson hit the post and the puck rolled out for Andrew Hotham to slot over the line from a tight angle.
Devils’ boss Andrew Lord called a time out, maybe he was sensing his team were going to come under the cosh.
He was right. But two Steelers goals were disallowed in the middle period, so the home club’s domination counted for nothing. Levi Nelson and Mathieu Roy both kicked in the puck, the officials ruled.
Nelson was a pest, he niggled at his markers and smashed a puck into Bowns’ facemask. And there was more energy from Sheffield; Jamtin in a decent scrap with Bryce Reddick.
But two Power Plays came and went.
Steelers had a ‘now or never’ PP in the final session but Devils’ workaholic skaters killed it.
The visitors rarely make mistakes it seems - and they saw out the rest of the game with ruthless professionalism. Job done.