Match Report: Steelkings vs Phantoms
Being the newcomers to the league, this was only the second game that the Sheffield Steelkings had played, and the first one to be held at home for them at IceSheffield. It was going to be a tough game for the Steelkings, with their relative inexperience going up against the 2014 Champions – a team which also consists of several GB players. But the Steelkings weren’t going to be deterred, and with some great support from local Sheffield hockey fans who had come along to see what this “sledge hockey thing” was all about, we got started, albeit slightly delayed due to an earlier event in the venue.
Both teams got off to a good start with plenty of action. The Steelkings were prepared to throw themselves deep into the fight, and the Phantoms were clearly not going to go easy on them. The Steelkings held the Phantoms back until 4:34 of the first period, when super-speedy Tyler Christopher shot the first puck past Steelkings netminder Bryan Hackworth (assist to Matt Coleman). It could have been a disheartening moment, but the Steelkings stayed firm, and the defensive training that they’d been working on – as well as the skills of their netminder – paid off. The Phantoms had the lead at the end of the first, but only by a single goal.
The second period wasn’t quite so good for the Steelkings. A barrage of shots hammered the Steelkings, and despite their best efforts, once the goals started coming, they didn’t slow down. Despite a late penalty in the first period for the Phantoms, the first goal only a few seconds after they’d returned to even strength, from Coleman, with Kieran O’Meara providing the assist. A second from Christopher came less than 30 seconds after that, unassisted. A delayed penalty goal for Darren Brown of the Phantoms came next, followed by two goals from Josh Campbell and another one each for Christopher, Coleman and Brown. The second period ended 9-0 to the Phantoms.
When O’Meara scored his third of the night, just 4:24 into the third period, the Steelkings (or at least the Steelkings Manager, me!) were concerned that this was going to be similar to the second period. But the team found their defense again, holding the Phantoms to just that one goal in the period, despite a total of 13 shots and some pretty fantastic saves from Hackworth. A couple of pretty good shots from the Steelkings were stopped by the Phantoms netminder, but showed that the Steelkings were becoming more confident offensively. When the final buzzer went, the score was 10-0.
MVP awards were presented by the Steelkings main sponsor, AMG Superalloys (represented by Dave Burniston from the company). For his hat-trick and assist, the Phantoms MVP was awarded to Josh Campbell, while no one was in any doubt that the MVP for the Steelkings was Bryan Hackworth.
The Steelkings face Manchester Phoenix next in back-to-back games, in Altrincham on 20th June and then in Sheffield on 27th June.
You can see a few more photos from the game below! All Steelkings photos are courtesy of Peter Best.