Steelkings Catch-up (Part One)
After three games in three consecutive weekends, the Sheffield Steelkings players (and staff!) are looking forward to a short rest before our next game against Cardiff Huskies on the 25th July.
The last three games, two away and one at home, have been instrumental in demonstrating the improvement the team as a whole is making. While the results – on paper at least – aren’t in our favour, the on-ice performance by every single player has been phenomenal.
We started in Manchester on the first leg of a Phoenix back-to-back series. With an abundance of (okay, three!) Oakleys on the ice, and a welcome addition to the team in Caroline Bonner, who is also the captain of the European Women’s Sledge Hockey Team, the game started quickly with Manchester getting their first goal less than 2 minutes into the period. The shots on our netminder Bryan Hackworth came thick and fast throughout, and by the end of the first period, the Steelkings were already down 5-0, with Manchester’s captain, Karl Nicholson, already claiming a hat trick. In the second period, he added one more to his tally, along with two other players. Hackworth made some fantastic saves and after 30 minutes, the Steelkings were looking at an 8-0 deficit. By no means disheartened, the third and final period was one of the Steelkings’ best yet. Only allowing a single goal by Manchester through the 15 minutes, they ended with a score of 9-0.
We welcomed the Phoenix team to IceSheffield the following weekend for the return leg and had another newcomer on the ice this time. Mark Colquitt joined the team only a couple of weeks earlier, giving us a fantastic 12 outfield players. For a team that didn’t exist a year ago, this was certainly something to be proud of.
When the first period of the game ended 6-0 to Manchester, the Steelkings could have been forgiven for becoming disheartened. But the exact opposite happened. Although Manchester snuck a goal past Hackworth less than a minute into the second period, that was the only goal they managed, no matter how hard they tried. When the Steelkings received a 2 minute penalty, the defense pushed themselves even harder, and made it through the man disadvantage without conceding a goal. When Manchester were called for an interference penalty later in the period, Barry Grayson made the most of it and with the help of Jake Oakley, managed to fire the puck past Manchester’s netminder Steven Midghall to score our first Power Play goal only a few seconds before the end of the period. Manchester weren’t so keen on that, so the third period began with two goals in quick succession from them, taking them to a 9-1 lead. That wasn’t the end of it though. When Manchester received another penalty, with around 90 seconds remaining in the game, Dave Hall swept down the ice and took advantage of a mistake by their netminder. Both the puck and the player ended up in the net, but that didn’t matter to the jubilant spectators watching as the Steelkings celebrated their second Power Play goal of the game.
A bit of a melee near the goal as the final whistle blew resulted in a matching pair of 10 minute misconduct penalties – one for each team.
Part Two of the catch-up will be posted in a few days, covering last weekend’s away game against Cardiff Huskies.
You can see a photo gallery from these two games over on our Facebook page (make sure you give us a “like” there if you haven’t already done so!).