Braehead Clan 2-3 Sheffield Steelers

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It was the Sheffield Steelers that grabbed their first win in four, and two points at the Braehead Arena in a closely fought contest that had everything you could want on a sporting Saturday night. An enthralling first period saw Braehead Clan go in 1-0 up with a lovely worked goal on the power play tipped by captain Matt Keith and assisted by fellow linemen Stefan Della Rovere and Alex Leavitt.

The goal was scored with 13 seconds left in a 5 minute major penalty on Steelers' D-man Zack Fitzgerald for what appeared to be a kneeing challenge that left Clan star forward Mike Hammond having to go to hospital for an apparent upper leg injury. The incident appeared worse than was meant and indeed the enforcer had no complaints about his marching orders on the 5+ game penalty.

It didn't take long into the second period before Sheffield saw themselves draw level with a lovely shot from Canadian forward John Armstrong, assisted by Rod Sarich and Luke Ferrera, that beat Clan goalie Michal Zajkowski low at his glove side.

Things started to heat up with all to play for between Stefan Della Rovere and Ben O'Connor when the two had an altercation in the Clan defensive zone that resulted in a slashing call for O'Connor, however it was the Steelers that went ahead with a nice finish from Robert Dowd, assisted by Ben O'Connor and Levi Nelson with 90 seconds left in the second period.

Words were exchanged at the end of the second period in a heated patch between Clan's Della Rovere, Jay Rosehill and Cody Carlson with Steelers' Guillaume Desbiens, Ben O'Connor and Geoff Walker, but nothing came to fruition and Steelers went in 2-1 up at the end of the second.

Sheffield went further ahead early in the third period with Robert Dowd's second goal of the game with a quick release shot that caught Zajkowski out in the Clan goal. The assists on Sheffield's third went to Levi Nelson and Andreas Valdix, who looked at this point to be in total control of the game. They defended Mustukovs goal very well and fought hard to win the puck back.

However Clan managed to raise their game and climb back into the tie when another power play goal was tucked in from Matt Keith, assisted by Della Rovere and Alex Leavitt once again, to set up an edge of the seat spectacle with just over 6 minutes of the game remaining. Both sets of fans roared their teams on during the final minutes that saw an array of chances.

Memorably a snap shot from star Steeler Mathieu Roy through the legs and on the turn, but Zajkowski did incredibly well to keep it out. Sheffield rang the posts on a couple of occasions also, however it was with only 6 seconds on the clock, Stefan Della Rovere let go a thunderbolt strike on Ervins Mustukovs' net and the crowd roared for what they thought was the equaliser.

Fortunately for Sheffield fans, the puck caught the outside of the net and that was that. A nervy last few minutes for Sheffield Steelers who played very well overall, but they will be happy to have got back to winning ways with the playoffs just around the corner.

For Braehead Clan, it was a spirited fight back that fell just short, but will be hoping Hammond's injury isn't as serious as feared and they will need him back in that top line with Scott Pitt and Matt Beca if Braehead are to realistically challenge with the playoffs on the horizon. MOTM Sheffield Steelers - #75 Robert Dowd. MOTM Braehead Clan - #8 Matt Keith. (Photo, Al Goold)