EIHL round-up: emotional Steelers’ return, Giants hit zero, and cameras roll on coach’s comments

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Belfast Giants had a rare taste of a zero point weekend as the champions coughed up back to back losses at the weekend.

They went down 3-2 at home to Cardiff Devils, and were also beaten 3-1 by Guildford Flames - losses which may yet come back to bite them at the end of the season. Giants find themselves in mid table, four points behind Sheffield Steelers who also have a game in hand. Early days mayhem, but the margin of error when chasing titles doesn’t factor in weekends with zero returns.

Flames were 2-0 up in12 minutes, prompting Adam Keefe to call a time out – you can imagine the straight talking that was shoehorned into the 30-second briefoing. Giants also had Miles Gendron tossed on a major penalty for cross-checking.

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Things didn’t go any smoother on home ice as Cardiff skated to a 3-2 victory, It took almost half an hour before Evan Mosey broke the deadlock to get the Welsh side ahead despite being outshot 31-9. The game went to the wire, with Cole Sanford winning the puck on his own blue line with 47 seconds remaining, and he scorched down the ice to beat netminder Beskorowany to secure the points on the kitbags back over the sea.

Sheffield Steelers acknowledge the fans on their return t home ice (Pic: Dean Woolley)Sheffield Steelers acknowledge the fans on their return t home ice (Pic: Dean Woolley)
Sheffield Steelers acknowledge the fans on their return t home ice (Pic: Dean Woolley)

It was a solid four-point weekend for Devils too as they edged Manchester Storm 4-3. The winner came very late - just 14 seconds left in overtime when Cole Ully got on a loose puck after a Brandon Alderson shot and beat Evan Weninger to get the Devils the bonus point.

Glasgow Clan’s weekend was simply miserable. After their capitulation to Fife Flyers, they headed to Tayside for their final Challenge Cup qualifying game knowing a win held out hopes of progress. Not only did it not materialise but they were skelped 6-2 by Dundee Stars.

It all went badly wrong for the visitors in a 67 second spell in period two. Jame Elmer converted a powerplay and James Phelan made it 3-1 ten seconds later , prompting a time out and a change of netminders with Jake Kielly sent into the fray.

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The result left Clan fans looking to under-pressure coach Jason Morgan for answers. He may well have got some of them in the post-game interviews, courtesy of opposite number, Marc Lefebvre who appeared to be caught on camera speculating about several changes and unhappiness in the Glasgow camp. Someone forgot to switch the camera off, and a clip, albeit difficult to make out, found its way to social media.File under “awkward” …

Sheffield Steelers made a winning return to the ice after sitting out last weekend’s games following the death of Adam Johnson.

They scored a solid 4-1 win at Manchester Storm and followed up with an emotional homecoming which honoured the late Panthers’ player and Remembrance Sunday. Fittingly, it was captain, Robert Dowd, who scored the winner deep into overtime to clinch a cathartic 2-1 win over Coventry Blaze. That kept Steelers top of the EIHL, equal points with Devils but with two games in hand.

Blaze are in tenth spot, but there is little between any of the teams sitting in the pack this early on. A big weekend coming up for Coventry a they go back to back with ninth placed Fife Flyers, while the big game arguably will be Sheffield up against Belfast on Saturday.