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12th January 2008
|Referee: A Carson|
|Match complete||Belfast Giants|
|0 : 0 : 1 = 1||Goals||3 : 1 : 2 = 6|
|8 : 8 : 11 = 27||Shots||8 : 11 : 6 = 25|
|13 : 2 : 2 = 17||Penalties in Minutes||12 : 10 : 6 = 28|
Sheffield Steelers 1-6 Belfast Giants
Sheffield missing Ashley Tait (concussion)
3182 saw the in-form Giants win with embarrassing ease. Had Doug Sheppard's deflection not squeezed through Stevie Lyle's pads in the final period, this would have been the first time Sheffield had been shut-out at home in successive matches. The ignominy was avoided, but only just... And this happened in the very next home game after owner Bob Phillips gave all his staff 2 weeks notice after the 4-0 rout by Manchester. Where now for the Steelers ?
Belfast helped themselves to 3 first period goals from 4 shots in a penalty-filled opening period. After Randy Dagenais' shot had been saved, a scuffle between Roman Gavalier and Ryan Finnerty saw the pair heading for the box. Gavalier took a double minor for roughing with Finnerty a major for fighting plus a minor for having no tie-down on his shirt. The first 2 minutes of 4-on-4 brought a single save by Lyle, but the subsequent 3 minute Giants' powerplay saw Jody Lehman beaten 3 times. Peter Campbell's shot was padded aside but George Awada potted the rebound at the far post (5:50). Carlyle Lewis fired home first time from 10 feet (6:51) and Campbell blasted through Lehman's pads (7:25).
Five minutes later Graeme Walton and Jason Hewitt were sitting roughing penalties after another scuffle at the Giants' net. Lyle up-ended Finnerty as he chased a puck across the front for an interference penalty but Finnerty's elaborate fall brought him a diving minor as well. Just 15 seconds later Trevor Johnson's interference minor gave the home side 98 seconds of 4-on-3, but Lyle had no save to make.
With 4 minutes left in the period Shane Johnson bravely blocked a Sheppard shot and stayed down.
Early in the second, Ian Manzano's holding penalty saw Lehman do well to deny Shaun Sutter and Lewis on the doorstep. Belfast kept up the pressure for the next 6 minutes until a long pass released Jonothan Phillips behind the Giants defence. Graeme Walton had little choice but to hold him back and ref Andy Carson awarded a penalty shot. Phillips stepped up but never looked like beating Lyle as he went right on the keeper.
With Shaun Sutter sitting a 4 minute high sticks penalty, Scott Cameron got away and beyond Jody Lehman but inexplicably failed to squeeze the puck home at the left post. He stayed calm enough to whip the puck out to Campbell who fired wide with the keeper still on the floor. But Giants still managed a short-handed goal when Ed Courtenay went round the back of the net and found Campbell in acres of space to pick his spot (33:50).
Mark Dutiaume's holding penalty gave the home side a full 2 minutes of 5 on 3 but Lyle didn't have a single save to make as Sheffield spent most of the time trying and failing to keep the puck at the Giants' end of the rink.
Sheffield came out in more determined mood for the final session with Lyle saving twice from Randy Dagenais, but 2 goals from 2 shots saw off Jody Lehman. With Finnerty sitting a hooking penalty Campbell was again left in time and space to rifle his third of the night (43:44). Just 16 seconds later Mark Morrison's speculative shot from the left was good enough to score (44:00).
Sheffield kept plugging away and were lifted when Ian Manzano's left point blast deflected off Sheppard's stick to break Lyle's shut-out (45:55). But Campbell could have had a second hat-trick had replacement goalie Davey Lawrence not made three fine saves. Indeed the last two saw Campbell in alone on the keeper, but spreading his 6 foot 3 frame to the full the Barnsley goalie somehow kept the shots out.
The home side might have increased their tally further when Shane Johnson displaced the goal for a minor penalty. On the powerplay Manzano's shot looped on top of the net.
But even the most partisan Sheffield fan would have to admit they were well-beaten tonight.
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