Sheffield Steelers 2-1 Milton Keynes Lightning (final score)

Dry January is officially over for Steelers.

But the champagne corks are far from popping at Sheffield Arena.

Andrew DeLuca celebrates with Tanner Eberle after his goal against MKL. Pic: Dean Woolley

Andrew DeLuca celebrates with Tanner Eberle after his goal against MKL. Pic: Dean Woolley

Back-to-back weekend victories over bottom club Milton Keynes Lightning were welcome as Steelers snapped a five-match losing streak.

But Wednesday's visit of Cardiff Devils will pose a considerably more difficult challenge.

Steelers, who might bring in a new player by then, had beaten MK 4-1, away, the night before. But it was MKL who were fastest out of the gate.

Robbie Baillargeon cut through Sheffield's rearguard after 15 seconds, only to be blocked by goalie Jackson Whistle.

Tom Zanoski's home debut for Steelers v MKL. Pic by Dean Woolley

Tom Zanoski's home debut for Steelers v MKL. Pic by Dean Woolley

Tim Wallace shot wide with the home defence stretched and then pinged the post on a powerplay.

But Sheffield were more precise on five minutes.

Anthony DeLuca seemed to take an age to replace new signing Tom Zanoski off the bench.

In fact, he couldn't have timed it better...taking a Tanner Eberle pass and roofing it over Patrick Killeen's left shoulder.

Tanner Eberle against MKL

Tanner Eberle against MKL

Defensively, issues continued to raise their heads and Steelers were lucky not to concede after twice giving the puck away cheaply in one shift.

Steelers only had four defenceman but they sweated blood at both ends - Aaron Johnson unlucky with two middle period chances while executing a perfect hit on Georgs Golovkovs.

But MKL looked a very tired, depleted outfit with James Griffin and Ivan Sijan both showing fatigue and surrendering possession.

However, in a rare raid on the home crease, Whistle came out to smother the puck, didn't manage it and was out of position when Nelson Armstrong poked the puck home for 1-1 at 27:06.

Spot of refresdhment for Jackson Whistle

Spot of refresdhment for Jackson Whistle

They were level just over a minute. DeLuca drove the net and in the tangle of bodies Jonathan Phillips notched his sixth of the season.

Tom Barrasso's men had to kill a couple of penalties at the start of the third session, but were rarely under sustained pressure.

Griffin, arriving late, had a chance to pop the puck between Whistle's pads, but couldn't take it.

Sheffield tried to harry MKL d-men into mistakes, but clear chances were thin on the ground and the game featured a series of scrappy sequences before a late onslaught from the visitors.

Tom Zanoski

Tom Zanoski