Sheffield Steelers 3-1 Manchester Storm (final)

Zack Fitzgerald against Manchester Storm. Pic by Hayley Roberts
Zack Fitzgerald against Manchester Storm. Pic by Hayley Roberts

Steelers continued their promising Challenge Cup form this evening with a win over Manchester Storm.

Sheffield had beaten Storm in the opening fixture of the Cup series back on September 9 but the visitors have come on leaps and bounds since then.
And there was little between the two sides in the opening 10 minutes, with neither team dominating, before 7,039 fans.
Sheffield had previously been imperious form in Group A, winning all five previous matches , while Storm had lost three of four.
And the home side took the lead on their second Power Play of the night, Levi Nelson scoring at 14;51 from linemate Robert Dowd.
More important matches will lie ahead between these two cross Pennine rivals, but home Coach Paul Thompson had talked about the importance of making a statement against one of the League's form teams.
And he was pleased to take the 1-0 lead into the first interval break, preserved when Ervins Mutukovs stopped a dangerous tip from Scott Pitt.

Cup action at Sheffield Arena tonight

Cup action at Sheffield Arena tonight

A scrappy middle period burst into life when Tim Wallace ended up being the last man in position in Steelers' defensive zone and he couldn't prevent Ciaran Long scoring from Linden Springer at 33:50.

But Andreas Jamtin, putting in a fiesty performance got himself into a good position in front of goal to put Sheffield ahead again at 34:28.

The net had come off its mooring seconds earlier, put landed back in them, as the puck flashed home.

Storm argued the point, it went to video review and the goal was given.

Steelers killed a five on three power play at the start of the final third and never looked back.

While Storm had plenty of the puck, their finishing wasn't up to scratch.

They were unfortunate, too, when Shane Bakker was penalised for illegal equipment - he was skating off the pad after his helmet had been displaced and had his back to the play.

On the Power Play Andre Deveaux scored to put some daylight between the sides at 3-1.

Jonathan Phillips could have had another but failed to convert a penalty shot at 55;31.

Steelers faultless winning stretch in the Challenge Cup now means they are top seed and get to pick their opponent in the quarter final - with Dundee Stars a likely choice.