Steelers outsmart Grenoble

British champion defeats Continental Cup host


Sheffield netminder Andrew Verner prevents Grenoble from scoring. Photo: Fabien Baldino

GRENOBLE, France – The Sheffield Steelers won their opening game in the 2010 Continental Cup Super Final by defeating host Grenoble Brûleurs de Loups, 5-2.

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After a start with too many mistakes in the defence, Grenoble came back midway through the game, but when Sheffield gained the lead again, the Brits stood tall in the defence until the last second.

“We tried to keep the shots outside and Verner played very well in the net,” Sheffield coach David Matsos said. “We just wanted to keep it simple and take the chances we get, and that’s what happened. We have a short bench, so we must be smart and can not just go go go.”

Robert Farmer broke a 2-2 tie midway through the game and Matt Hubbauer added the insurance goal (4-2) seven minutes into the third period to break the spirits of the home team and its supporters. Jason Hewitt scored an empty-netter to wrap up things.

Jonathan Phillips had one goal and two assists for the winners, while Robert Farmer was 1+1, including the game winner.

“Grenoble is a very fast and skilled team, we had kind of a lucky goal to make it 3-2, that kind of swung the momentum,” Phillips said. “We knew it’s going to be a tight game. We had a defensive plan and took our chances. We have a patient team that didn’t come to the tournament with expectations.”

Grenoble didn’t have a smooth start into the tournament. Although they knew how to create scoring opportunities, the defence was leaking too much. After the French lost the puck in the own end, Sheffield forward Robert Farmer passed to Jeff Leque, who opened the scoring at 4:32 with a hard shot.

The Steelers also capitalized on a similar mistake in the middle zone two minutes later when Jonathan Phillips scored the second goal at 6:21.

Defenceman Alexandre Rouleau missed out one of the best chances for the home team when a deflected shot missed the net by a few centimetres.

Things were better for the French in the second period after Phillips was sent to the penalty box for hooking. Sheffield goalkeeper Andrew Verner seemed to keep a clean sheet until Grenoble defenceman Viktor Wallin shot from the blueline through much traffic at 22:48, following a side pass from Antonin Manavian.

Sheffield tried to bounce back and had a 5-on-3 power play, but the Brits didn’t score and Grenoble succeeded with a counter attack following the penalties at 27:27. Damien Fleury, in front of the net, deflected a shot from Jakob Milovanovic to equalize the score at 2-2.

Sheffield scored the game winner when Leque skated along the boards and sent a cross to Robert Farmer, who regained the lead for the Steelers at 32:20.

Sheffield capitalized on their first power play of the third period. After Grenoble netminder Eddy Ferhi deflected a shot from Robert Dowd, Phillips got the puck to Matt Hubbauer who gave the guests a two-goal lead.

Jason Hewitt added an empty-net goal to seal three points for the Steelers.

“We must battle now, maybe that was the lesson we needed,” said Grenoble coach Mats Lusth. “We cannot lose the puck like that. In the French league you can maybe do it, but in the international game, we cannot afford such individual mistakes.”

The Sheffield Steelers take on the other winner, Red Bull Salzburg, on Saturday at 16:00. Grenoble plays Yunost Minsk at 20:00.


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