Hat-tricks from Matt Clarkson and debutant Matt Woollias helped Sheffield Steelkings to a 7-4 triumph over the table topping Manchester Mayhem in Altrincham on Sunday.
They lead 2-1 after a first period in which they had Manchester pegged inside their own zone for extended periods; Clarkson and club Chairman Jake Oakley scoring either side of Karl Nicholson’s tally for Manchester. The period was played at a furious tempo as the Steelkings cycled the puck with pace and fluidity, whereas Manchester looked dangerous on the break.
The second half was a scrappier affair and Manchester exerted more pressure of their own but Woollias gave Sheffield a 3-1 lead on a break-away effort on 25:47.
Manchester stormed back into the game to tie it up 3-3 by the start of the third period. The first came with 2:58 remaining in the second as Nicholson swept home a rebound from the centre of the Steelkings zone and then Anthony Booth took advantage of a break-away to level things up with 11:37 left to play.
Sheffield had to go and win the game again and did so. Woollias struck his second and third goals with 6:52 and 5:15 to play – the latter a back-post tap-in from a Clarkson cross, before Clarkson made the score 6-3, firing across goal into the top left corner of the net inside the final two minutes.
There was a late trading of goals in the final eighty seconds as Manchester struck back again through their own hat-trick hero Nicholson, before Clarkson secured the victory and earned his own hat-trick with a long-range effort with 31 seconds to play.
“I’m one very proud coach right now!” said Oakley afterwards, “We had a plan and together took down a great team. Everyone played their part and we got that result as a team.”
The Steelkings play their first home game of the season this Sunday vs. the Peterborough Phantoms at IceSheffield at 16:15. Mayhem next play on the 14th of July, away to the Cardiff Huskies.
Reporter: Mike Rhodes