Steelers take victory from Skydome
Without number one netminder Brian Stewart and British duo Russell Cowley and Ashley Tait, Genting Casino Coventry Blaze were beaten 1-6 by the Sheffield Steelers at the Skydome Arena in the Elite League.
Scottish born Renny Marr started between the pipes for Blaze in the absence of Canadian Stewart who was forced to leave the game in Sheffield the night before following a collision with Zack Fitzgerald.
With Ervins Mustukovs back between the pipes, the reigning Elite League Champions began without Andreas Valdix and Captain Jonathan Phillips.
The visiting Steelers got the early go-ahead goal at 2.43, the first of five in the opening period, Christoffer Bjorklund firing past Marr on the powerplay. Sheffield's Man of the Match, John Armstrong then scored the first of a hat-trick, doubling the Yorkshire sides lead at 4.19.
A third quickly followed, again on the powerplay, Armstrong's second at 5.47 for 0-3. Blaze Head Coach Danny Stewart called a time-out but the Steelers scoring continued, Markus Nilsson netting to make it 0-4 at 6.08.
13.40 saw a contender for fight of the year as Blaze's Garrett Klotz and Steelers' Zack Fitzgerald dropped the gloves, the Sheffield man coming off the worse going straight to the locker room with blood running from his face.
The first period ended with a fifth Sheffield goal, Mathieu Roy the scorer for 0-5 at 19.05.
Fitzgerald returned to the Steelers bench to begin the middle period as Robin Bergman got Blaze on the board 13 seconds after the re-start (20.13), the Swede's fifth goal of the season moving him to the top of the club's scoring charts.
Coventry defenceman Josh Godfrey, who has been struggling with injury left the game and then followed an abuse of official penalty on Steelers' assistant coach Jerry Andersson. The Swede, sent from the bench by referee Tom Darnell at 35.34 after a dispute with linesman James Kavanagh.
Then came the hat-trick goal for Armstrong (39.28), sending the away side to the locker room with a commanding 1-6 lead.
The third period went by with little incident despite Liam Stewart and Blaze's Man of the Match Garrett Klotz going close.
Head Coach Danny Stewart said, "It was a tough weekend. I think the main thing is to try to find the positives, not just from the weekend but sticking together-wise. Last night I made it clear that it wasn't good enough, I think for the first time we saw a bit of selfishness and indiscipline in the way that we play, and I made it clear that it was unacceptable. Tonight, I demanded that these guys at least come in and play hard, compete and stick to what we want to do. There were some unfortunate bounces there early on, I'm not going to make excuses for these guys all of the time but tonight was a night where there were some bad breaks and a couple of goals that they well deserved. At the end of the day it was a rough weekend but we've just got to look forward."