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Elite League
21st October 2006
 Referee: M Hanson 
Sheffield Steelers


Match complete
Belfast Giants


0 : 4 : 1 : 0 = 5Goals1 : 1 : 3 : 1 = 6
11 : 15 : 10 : 2 = 38Shots10 : 13 : 15 : 3 = 41
14 : 4 : 8 : 0 = 26Penalties in Minutes4 : 6 : 4 : 0 = 14
Game Report

Sheffield Steelers 5OT6 Belfast Giants

Sheffield suffered a blow when Brett Clouthier was ruled out after warm up and then assistant coach Scott Ricci and Jason Hewitt were both injured in the opening period.

A repeat of the scoreline in Belfast a month ago, after Jonathan Phillips tipped home Dan Tessier's shot with 26 seconds of normal time remaining to force the extra session. But Curtis Huppe netted the sudden-death winner from the left, despite goalie Jody Lehman getting his stick to the fierce shot.

Steelers appeared to have made the game safe with 4 unanswered goals in the middle session after Jason Ruff's powerplay opener. But Giants repsonded with 4 of their own, helped by 97 seconds of 5-on-3 play after getting within a goal of Sheffield. A brace from ex-Steeler Mark Dutiaume edged them ahead, but Sheffield lifted their goalie and it payed off.

Both sides worked hard to deny clear chances with most shots deflecting off sticks rather than testing the goalies. Phillips tested Minard early on with a backhand under pressure. Giant's man of the match Jason Ruff carved out the first good chance on 10 minutes, George Awada blasting in from the right and Ruff only just failing to reach the rebound.

Phil Hill and Phillips both tested Minard soon after, beforre Huppe and Rod Sarich headed for the box for the first penalties of the night. Mark Thomas blocked JP Morin's shot at his own crease and Sheffield went up the other end, Minard doing well to glove Scott Ricci's effort. Dan Tessier robbed the home defence but agin Minard's glove made the stop.

After Mark Morrison took a holding penalty near the Sheffield net, Ricci pulled up breaking away and didn't ice again.

Sutter fired in from the right and with Sheffield struggling to produce any pressure, Phillips reached the rebound from Ian Manzano's halfway line shot but Minard gloved another one.

After Graham Walton's right wing shot forced a face-off, Steelers' captain Shawn Maltby won the draw and released Warren Tait down the right. Tait ignored the return pass to Maltby but Minard padded the shot aside. Maltby was called for interference as Giants cleared their zone and Maltby's exchange of words with the ref left the Steelers sitting an extra 10 minute penalty. So the home side were now 3 bodies down.

Giants needed no further invitation, Ruff showing a touch of class to net high on the powerplay after patiently waiting for his line-mates to screen the goalie and then going for accuracy over pace (19:20). Lehamn had already made 2 saves on that powerplay.

Awada's illegal equipment penalty 17 seconds into the second session allowed Rod Sarich to go end to end and net the goal of the game, backhanding home upstairs (20:52).

Sheffield found another gear and Giants struggled to contain them. Morin took a hooking penalty and Regan Darby's left point blast went through a crowd into the net (24:21).

Huppe missed a golden chance to level, pulling his shot wide of Lehman's right post and when Dutiaume retrieved the puck his pass out was whisked away with Huppe poised to strike. Steelers made the most of their hard work, Dan Tessier's made a drop-pass with his back to net to Shaun Sutter at the crease, but Sutter didn't need to touch the puck as it trickled in (27:29).

The home side were flying with Phillips firing in from the right and Gustavson putting the rebound wide. Then Leigh Jamieson coughed up the puck to Tessier near his own net but his floated pass inside was missed by Sutter.

Belfast pressured the home side with Phillips sitting a hooking penalty, but Sutter whipped the puck off Awada's toes when he seemed certain to bag the rebound from Jeff Hutchins' shot.

Mark Thomas tried his luck from the right and the puck trickled past the far post and Giants broke away, Awada putting his chance wide and careering into the goalie as he lost his footing. Ref Hanson assessed an interference call for that and Sutter put away the pieces from Tessier's right point blast on the powerplay (35:52).

Hill's holding penalty was swiftly punished when Dutiaume won the draw and Morin's right point shot evaded Lehman (36:52).

Chances at both ends before Manzano took a holding penalty near his own net. Another Morin shot was padded as far as Huppe and he made no mistake (46:18).

Just before 48 minutes, Darby took a boarding penalty at his own end. With Giants looking for the opening Lehman tripped Hutchins for 97 seconds of 5-on-3 play. The goalie made amends with 2 stops from Todd Kelman, before Hutchins and Manzano clashed for holding and cross-checking respectively. So from 5 defencemen Sheffield had lost Ricci and had Darby and Manzano in the box, leaving just Sarich and Thomas to kill the penalties.

Ruff tested Lehman once but just as Darby returned Dutiaume netted (50:00) to tie the game.

The home side took the game back to their visitors but a long pass from Ruff released Dutiaume who fired in a fierce shot. He reached his own rebound and the shot might have been going wide but went in off Sarich's skate (51:10) to put Giants ahead.

Ruff's hooking penalty saw Sheffield struggle to create any openings and Giants looked like they would add more against the depleted Steelers. Hutchins was creating the problems and Ruff and Dutiaume were keeping Lehman on his toes.

But Sheffield rallied for one last push and with Lehman lifted on 59 minutes, the scramble was on. Giants cleared their end and a second empty net goal in succession against Sheffield looked on, but the home side wrestled the puck back and were rewarded when Phillips got a stick on Tessier's right wing shot (59:34).

Phillips tested Minard twice more but Giants were looking the stronger and Huppe netted a rocket from the left after earlier putting a similar chance wide.

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