Steelkings Spook the Phantoms to make Play-Offs
Sheffield Steelkings v Peterborough Phantoms (26/08/2017)
Final score: Steelkings 2 – 1 Phantoms (After Penalty Shots)
The final game of the British Para Ice Hockey league 2017 fell to the Sheffield Steelkings who welcomed the travelling Peterborough Phantoms to IceSheffield’s Bauer Arena, where both teams would do battle for the final playoff spot.
Both sides found themselves short on players but both fielding 8 skaters and a goalie for the crunch game.
Phantoms travelled to Sheffield knowing that only the three points a regulation win would bring, would be enough to make the playoffs, whilst Steelkings only needed a single point to secure their spot for the weekend in Hull.
The game started out evenly as both sides tried to create chances and control the flow of the play but it would be the Phantoms who would strike first.
A long shot from Kieran O’Meara (at 9.29) caught the Sheffield goalie, Rachel Rawson, by surprise as it took a bounce off her blocker and into a hole created under her arm. This also gave the Phantoms momentum as Steelkings tried to find a way to regroup.
The Steelkings weren’t without chances though. Shots came from all of the Kings forwards and a golden chance fell to Wayne Plummer who received a pass in front of the Phantoms net. However Rob Gaze was equal to the shot and everyone else’s, keeping the Phantoms lead alive.
Even though the Steelkings had outshot the Phantoms in the opening period the second started as the first had finished, with Phantoms keeping the Steelkings under pressure and the game could have gotten away from the Kings as Barry Grayson got a two minute penalty for Teeing (at 17.39).
Thankfully for the Kings, the Phantoms couldn’t take advantage of the extra man due to great pressure from Mark Briggs and the Kings defence core.
On return of Grayson, Steelkings started to push harder and harder and found some momentum of their own again. This was helped further as Phantoms Kieran O’Meara took a Slashing penalty on Jake Oakley (at 23.26) as they battled behind the Sheffield net.
Nothing came of the Steelkings advantage but there was a swing in the gameplay and Steelkings started to push hard again to break down the Phantoms defence.
The real change came following a battle in the middle of the ice which saw a loose puck chip into the Phantoms zone. Jake Oakley pushed hard to the puck and managed to over-take the final defender by beating him to the outside and cutting back in on net.
With nobody to challenge Jake it became a one-on-one with Phantoms Rob Gaze. The large home crowd erupted as the hard low shot beat the Great Britain netminder to bring the game back level (at 28.23) and light a new fire within the Kings.
The period came to an end shortly after and both sides returned to their benches to discussed tactics and take on water.
As the third period got under way the game became very tense for both sides. Both the Steelkings and Phantoms battled hard to try and break the deadlock and get the go-ahead goal.
The Phantoms found themselves under pressure early on as the Steelkings carried their momentum over from the second period.
This was helped further when Phantoms Kieran O’Meara got called for a second penalty (at 32.56). This time for Teeing behind the play.
Phantoms managed to fend off the Steelkings attempt to take the lead and then started their own attack.
Rachel Rawson with the help of Mark Colquitt, made a couple of key saves as time slowly started running out for Peterborough.
With only a few minutes to go Phantoms unfortunately lost Dave Threadgold after getting tangled on a hit with Rachel Paget.
Upon the restart, the Steelkings again took the game to Peterborough and really tried to break the deadlock in the final two minutes.
Kings were really applying the pressure to the Phantoms and despite their best efforts to clear the zone, John Oakley and Mark Briggs kept the puck from leaving the zone as the forwards tried to create an opportunity to strike.
However, with less than a minute to go the Steelkings very nearly came unstuck, when a loose puck was played to a high skating Scott Turner who chased it into the Sheffield zone but was chased down hard and the final attempt of the game was thwarted.
And with that, the whistle blew to mark the end of the period and Sheffield claimed the point they needed to make it to the playoffs.
But there was still more hockey to play and one more point up for grabs.
The game moved onto a five minute, four-on-four overtime period which would be used to try and determine a winner.
The Kings kept up their pressure and were the only side to register shots in the overtime period but again were denied by the fast reflexes of Rob Gaze.
The five minutes of overtime came and went and still the deadlock couldn’t be broken and so the game went to penalty shots.
Jake Oakley went first for the Steelkings. A steady approach saw him head towards goal and slot the puck through a gap under Rob Gaze as he dived to make the save.
For the Phantoms, Kieran O’Meara, Ali Amini and Scott Turner would all be denied by the pads of Rachel Rawson as would Sheffield’s Barry Grayson and Mark Briggs against Rob Gaze.
The lone goal by Jake Oakley was enough to see the extra point go to the Steelkings which in turn saw them leapfrog over the Manchester Mayhem and into third place in the league standings.
Unfortunately, the victory has also come at a cost to Sheffield.
The Steelkings will have to head into next weekend’s games without captain David Scivill.
David suffered an above the knee broken leg during a collision that saw a Phantoms player fall onto him in the first period.
Everyone at the club would like to wish Dave a speedy recovery.
The Sheffield Steelkings will now travel to Hull on the 2nd and 3rd September for the 2017 British Para Ice Hockey Playoffs, where they will face the Cardiff Huskies in the first game of the weekend.
We hope you can join us in Hull as we take the next step on our young club’s journey.
Sheffield Steelkings Man of the Match: #41 Jake Oakley
presented by Matthew & Natasha Franklin on behalf of Matrix Frames & Displays
Peterborough Phantoms Man of the Match: #8 Rob Gaze
presented by Gary Whiteley on behalf of Jersey 53
Shots on Steelkings: 7
Shots on Peterborough: 16