Elite League Wide Open After Steelers Stumble

Sam CooperContributor IJanuary 13, 2009

The Elite Ice Hockey League in the UK is far from over after the Sheffield Steelers stumbled to two home defeats in 48 hours.

Saturday saw the Cardiff Devils visit the Sheffield Arena and the game began as anticipated with the Steelers going up 1-0 through Doug Sheppard at 14:49.

However, the Devils ripped up the script in the second period and took advantage of the host's penalty troubles. Brad Voth and Jay Latuilippe scored powerplay goals.

The visitors weren't finished there and took the lead at 32:34 through Wes Jarvis.

It took the Steelers just 59 seconds to equalize through former Basingstoke Bison winger Brad Cruickshank, but the Devils were able to soak up the remaining pressure and the game went into overtime.

A nervy additional five minutes from both sides led to a scoreless OT and the game went to penalty shots.

After goals from Legue and Teplitsky, it was left to Brad Voth to send the Welsh side home with the extra points.

Sunday saw the visit of the Belfast Giants to the steel-city and an attempt to repeat the work of Cardiff.

An exciting first 20 minutes saw four goals shared equally between the sides.

It was evident the defenses had been spoken to during the intermission and the second looked destined for stalemate until Joey Talbot fired the league leaders back in front.

Jody Lehman continued to show coach Dave Matsos just what he has to replace next year with some fine saves, but the Giants did grab the equalizer on the powerplay at 52:29 and the game went into overtime.

One minute into the five minute OT, Steve Thornton sent the visitors home with the extra point to keep their own title dreams very much alive.