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Steelers take OT win in Manchester

Photo: Mark Ferris

Manchester Storm came back from two down to earn themselves a point against the league champions, but the Steelers struck just over three minutes into overtime to take the bonus point in front of 2,450 fans in Altrincham.

Manchester started well and were deservedly ahead off a Matt Murphy powerplay goal through traffic just 3:57 into the game. The hosts were rushing forward at speed, but gut caught on the rush the other way as Mitchel Balmas fed Patrick Watling for the back-post finish at 12:05.

In period two, it was again the home side that struck early – Johnny Corneil took the puck towards the boards and headed towards the net, beating Anthony Morrone with a file-hole finish just shy of the 25-minute mark. Storm were in the ascendency and should have gone further ahead – only a fantastic sprawling save from Morrone stopped Stephen Johnson adding the hosts’ third. That save was key to the visitors turning the game on its head in quick succession. Patrick Harper's shot rolled across the crease and deflected in off CJ Garcia's skate to level the game at 30:48, while just over two minutes later Mark Simpson shot neatly through a screen to make it 3-2.

Storm killed a two-minute 5-on-3 to start period three, giving them some momentum after falling behind. After a series of chances, and excellent stops by Morrone including a poke check on a Mitchell Martan breakaway, the home side’s pressure eventually told with Callum Fryer following up a rebound from a Corneil effort to make it a one-goal game with 9:29 to play. The noise levels in the Shelter went up a notch and their team responded – on the powerplay, Joe Morrow crashed a shot home through traffic to tie the game with 2:58 to play.

Both teams taking a point after regulation felt a fair reflection on the game, while in overtime both Weninger and Morrone came up big to keep the game alive. Niklas Nevalainen won it for the Steelers 3:04 into bonus hockey with a shot into the very top corner of Weninger’s net.

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