Elite League Ice Hockey review: Sheffield Steelers win play-off title
Last Updated: 06/04/14 8:08pm
Sheffield Steelers were crowned Elite League play-off champions following a 3-2 overtime victory over Belfast Giants in the final at the National Ice Centre in Nottingham.
Defenceman Drew Fata scored the decisive goal 94 seconds into the additional 20-minute period as Steelers celebrated post-season success for the first time since 2009.
It was also a sweet victory for coach Gerad Adams, who had lost in four previous finals when in charge of Cardiff Devils.
League champions Giants, on the other hand, were beaten in the play-off final in overtime for the second year in a row and it was also their second final loss this season after going down to Nottingham Panthers in the Challenge Cup.
After an even first period when goaltenders Stephen Murphy (Giants) and Frank Doyle (Steelers) were in solid form, Belfast opened the scoring on the powerplay at 24.24.
Cody Brookwell's shot appeared to take a deflection past Doyle but Steelers were soon level as Phil Hill tapped into an empty net after Jonathan Phillips' thunderous strike cannoned back off Murphy (27.36).
Former Steelers forward Colin Shields restored Giants' lead with a close-range finish past Doyle at 29.48 only for Robert Dowd, diverting in a Chad Langlais shot, to tie the scores once more at 37.35.
There were chances for both sides in an end-to-end final period with Murphy denying Dowd while the dazzling Doyle make remarkable saves from Dustin Whitecotton and Evan Cheverie, who moments earlier fired over on a breakaway following Fata's give-away.
With three minutes to go, captain Steve Goertzen had a great chance to win it for Steelers but Murphy made another excellent stop before Fata's fine clincher.
Earlier in the day, Braehead Clan came from 4-0 down to beat Fife Flyers 7-6 after overtime in the third/fourth-placed play-off, with Ed McGrane scoring the winner.