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Elite League
25th November 2006
 Referee: P Staniforth 
Sheffield Steelers


Match completeNewcastle Vipers


2 : 1 : 2 = 5Goals0 : 3 : 0 = 3
17 : 22 : 12 = 51Shots4 : 11 : 5 = 20
10 : 4 : 2 = 16Penalties in Minutes20 : 8 : 16 = 44
Game Report

Sheffield Steelers 5-3 Newcastle Vipers

Sheffield at full strength as Scott Ricci and Regan Darby return, Newcastle missing Callum Hewitt.

3036 saw Newcastle pay the price for their indiscipline as Vipers were heavily out-shot. The visitors scored 3 in 5 minutes to turn the game around halfway through. But Shawn Maltby levelled for Sheffield (33:37) with their third powerplay goal of the game and Jonathan Phillips shot on the turn from the right was worthy of winning any match (56:06). Shaun Sutter's empty net finish (59:25) sealed the win, this time on a delayed penalty call for hooking against Jon Weaver.

Shane Johnson's maiden goal (14:09) arrived with David Longstaff and Pavol Mihalik both sitting cross-checking penalties. That saw Longstaff return, but Dan Tessier slotted home a rebound at the left post (14:55) before Mihalik returned.

Vipers comeback started on their first powerplay of the night, Jim Shephard shooting across Jody Lehman from the left (27:39). A freak bounce off the boards straight to Rod Hinks found Lehman stranded out of his net and Hinks lifted the puck home (31:32). Vipers attacked again, Hinks firing in from the left and found the side-net from his own rebound, but the puck came out to Jeremy Cornish at the far post and he squeezed it in (32:01).

Both goalies were in action early, Longstaff shooting from low on the right just 20 seconds in with Sutter forcing a pad save. Vipers broke away and Andre Payette tried his luck from the left wing, before Tessier and Sutter were blocked at Aubry's left post as Vipers found themselves under pressure.

Just before the 5 minute mark Brett Clouthier and ex-Steeler Jason Robinson dropped the gloves at Sheffield's bench, before skating to centre ice to go toe-to-toe. Clouthier won that one with both taking 5 minute fighting penalties. Just 9 seconds after the restart, Jeremy Cornish and Regan Darby also got fighting majors going toe-to-toe, Cornish winning and Darby missing most of the remainder of the period whlist being treated for a cut.

Shawn Maltby broke into the Vipers zone from the restart and dropped the puck for Rod Sarich to unleash a fierce shot with the Vipers defence mopping up the rebound.

Rod Hinks was beating Tessier in the face-offs and Jim Shephard fired over another sucessful draw. A minute later Payette forced his way down the left, Lehman saving twice from the power forward.

When Mihalik took the first of his 5 penalties for cross-checking, Peter Aubry only had one save to make from Sarich. But the home side were on top and Aubry was kept busy but looked comfortable.

Longstaff took a cross-checking penalty preventing Clouthier putting away the pieces at Aubry's left post. The keeper didn't have a save to make though as Sarich's shot was blocked and Sutter's deflection went wide. Just 37 seconds remained when Mihalik went for cross-checking again and 9 seconds later the puck was in the net, Johnson's firing across Aubry from the left wing.

With Mihalik still off the ice, Sarich's shot from the right rebounded for Tessier to slot home.

Clouthier drove the net and took Aubry with him. From the restart Cornish earned himself a delay of game penalty and exactly one minute later Mihalik was back in the box, this time for interference. Aubry had 3 saves to make, all from distance.

Hinks announced his arrival charging down the right with Lehman padding the shot aside. But Mihalik was back in the box for another interference call and Aubry was busy making impressive stops when Ricci pushed up through the left, and from Tessier's shot down the slot. Ian Manzano was also denied twice.

Phillips got away down the right but could only find Aubry's blocker before Cornish popped up on Sheffield's crease, but couldn't force a save. Sheffield went straight down the other end and Warren Tait robbed Aubry behind his net, squeezing the puck out front to Jason Hewitt, but he shot wide. Vipers broke away and Weaver tested Lehman twice with Hewitt and Shephard collecting roughing penalties.

Mihalik forced the only save before Regan Darby took a holding the stick penalty for 55 seconds of 4-on-3 play. Lehman produced a big pad save from Rob Wilson and his defence cleared the puck. Maltby robbed Weaver to get away up the right but Aubry padded the shot to safety. Vipers swept down the other end and Shephard stepped out of the box to score from the left wing.

With the game much more even Sutter forced 2 saves, whilst Shaun Johnson attempted a wrap-around from the right but put the puck wide.

Vipers rimmed the puck round the right and it popped out front and with Lehman beyond his net, Hinks netted despite the goalie's despairing dive.

With the crowd and home side in shell-shock, Hinks rattled in a shot from the left and eventually the puck broke to Cornish on the other side and he bundled the puck home to put Vipers ahead.

But Mihalik's third cross-checking penalty saw Maltby net 6 seconds from the re-start, as he intercepted a clearance from behind the Vipers net.

Sheffield were on top for the rest of the period with Payette taking a penalty for failing to have his chin strap done up. Johnson and Thomas forced saves on that powerplay.

Aubry was caught behind his net for the second time by Sutter, but this time Vipers defence cleared the danger when the puck came back out front.

Further saves from Tessier and Sutter (2) were needed before the second interval.

With the luxury of no game tomorrow, Vipers were able to up their game in the final session. Shephard and Tessier should both have done better when well placed, before Weaver, Cornish and Johnson kept Lehman and his defence busy.

The rebound from Darby's shot was whisked to safety off Hewitt's toes, and Aubry did well to block Phillips shot from close-in on the right.

With Aubry saving from Sarich, Paul Ferone gave Steelers another powerplay but only Tessier forced a save.

Into the final 8 minutes and Johnson and Weaver caused the home defence problems. A minute later a long pass released Maltby down the left and he circled behind to find Phillips on the doorstep but the Welshman couldn't make it count.

But cometh the hour, cometh the man and Phillips span and whipped in a shot from wide on the right that whistled across Aubry and into the net. And as Vipers tried to rally Tait chased down a clearance and although Hewitt got to the pass he back-handed wide from 6 feet.

Ferone tested Lehman before Ferone and Clouthier clashed to ensure the game ended 4-on-4.

Vipers pulled Aubry with 25 seconds remaing but just as the keeper made it to the bench Sutter fired into the empty net and the game was safe.

Payette earned himself a misconduct penalty for abuse of the referee after the final hooter.

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