Image: Dean Woolley
Image: Dean Woolley

Sheffield Steelers reach Elite Series final with resounding aggregate victory

Carrying a slender 5-4 lead from the first leg, Aaron Fox’s Sheffield Steelers made light work of Ryan Finnerty’s Manchester Storm on Thursday evening, winning 8-3 on the night to secure a place in the Elite Series final alongside the Nottingham Panthers.

The first period was a rout by the Sheffield Steelers, as Adrian Saxrud Danielsen, Alex Graham, and Tanner Eberle all got in on the action, scoring three goals without reply going into the interval.

Manchester Storm struck back immediately in the second period, with Cameron Critchlow scoring on the powerplay to make it 3-1, reducing the aggregate deficit to three goals.

The deficit was stretched twice more before the period was out, with Sondre Olden scoring for the Steelers to make it 4-1, and Joshua Waller pushing Aaron Fox’s side to a fifth goal of the day on 32 minutes.

A fight in the 36th minute saw the Steelers lose goaltender John Muse and defenceman Sam Jones to penalties, whilst Ciaran Long and Cameron Critchlow followed for the Storm.

Two Tyson Fawcett goals sandwiched Eberle’s second of the night in the third period, as the Storm fought for their pride, pulling the score to 6-3.

Fox’s side refused to let the Storm have the final say, with Olden and Beaudry scoring to make it 8-3 as the Steelers entered ‘cricket score’ territory on aggregate, and so it ended.

An action-packed semi-final ends, with the score 13-7 on aggregate in favour of the Sheffield Steelers, who now face Nottingham Panthers on Saturday, after they beat Coventry Blaze 6-1 in the other semi-final clash.

Analysis

The stats make this game look far closer than it was, with the Storm having more shots and shots on target overall, but Aaron Fox’s men were ruthless in their finishing, boasting a 25% shot efficiency.

It always looked like Sheffield’s day from the drop of the puck, and a double figures aggregate win is certainly a stylish way to cruise into the final of the competition.

Manchester Storm did excellently to keep the score respectable in the first leg, but even without Liam Kirk in the side, the Steelers were irrepressible today and will be looking to enforce their will on Nottingham this weekend.

Three Stars

  1. Tanner Eberle (SHE) – 2G, 1A
  2. Jonathan Phillips (SHE) – 2A
  3. Brendan Connolly (SHE) – 2A

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