ICE HOCKEY: A LATE overtime goal from Steelers Andreas Valdix silenced a vocal Skydome crowd as Sheffield came from a goal behind to steal two points from Danny Stewart’s side.
Despite being short-benched, with defencemen Kevin Noble, Josh Godfrey and Jim Jorgensen all absent, Blaze put up a fight to title chasing Sheffield – who were made to work ‘overtime’ for their two league points.
Steelers’ took the lead at 12.14 as a cross-ice pass from Jon Armstrong found eventual Sheffield hero Andreas Valdix – who tapped home to put the visiting side ahead.
Blaze took full advantage of a five on three powerplay situation at 16.03 at Matt Marquardt tied the game following a series of pin-point passing from the Blaze powerplay unit.
Just 17 seconds later, Liam Stewart sent the Skydome into raptures as the popular forward added a second for the Blaze.
Sheffield brought themselves level at 23.50 as Christoffer Bjorklund rifled a shot through Brian Stewart from inside the circle.
Although the second period proved to be somewhat tame, just five minutes into the third period a controversial checking from behind penalty for Shawn Boutin sent the Skydome crowd and Blaze bench into enormous voice – clearly angry at Stephan Hogarth’s call.
The call didn’t affect Blaze forward Matt Marquardt though who scored his second of the night at 53.21 to put the Blaze ahead once more.
Though officials attempted to control the game, both sides eventually let their fury out – resulting in Liam Stewart and Jace Coyle dropping the gloves.
Several penalties were handed out, that was before Sheffield drew level once again through Ben O’Connor – which took the game to overtime.
Marc Cantin came agonisingly close to winning the game for Blaze when his wraparound effort fell millimetres short of lighting the lamp.
But it was Valdix who tapped home a rebound effort from Ben O’Connor’s shot which earned Sheffield the two points, Blaze had to settle for just one.
After the game, head coach Danny Stewart said: “I couldn’t ask for anymore from my players.
“It was a hell of an effort.
“We deserved more than a point this weekend – no question in my mind about it. but that’s out of our control right now.
“We just have to focus on how we performed.
“If there was ever a weekend to unite a group this would be it, because we had everything that could possibly happen thrown our way and we dealt with it and we just kept going.”
Blaze are next in action on Saturday night at home to Cardiff (5.15pm) before facing-off against the Dundee Stars on the road on Sunday night.