Sutton Sting U18s made it two wins from two outings with a 4-2 victory over league newcomers Sheffield Steeldogs.
The game at Ice Sheffield saw the Sting welcome EPL team owner Shane Smith and his recently formed Steeldogs Academy team, which included a large number of former Sting juniors, who had joined the Academy programme at Sheffield to pursue their vocational qualifications at Rotherham College.
There was a tension before the game as only 10 days earlier one of Sting’s impact players had jumped ship to join the Dogs ahead of this season opener.
Sting went ahead at 8.55 as a lovely breakout rush found Archie Gamwell on the right who neatly found Jake Apsley in space. He then presented a golden opportunity for Bradey Doxey to beat Steeldogs goalie Smith high on his blocker side, which Doxey converted with great style.
Even with a short bench, the Steeldogs rallied, but it was the home team who were to double their lead less than two minutes later on the powerplay, with a neatly taken goal by Harry Bridges from close range at 10.12.
In the second period the Steeldogs took a short-handed opportunity and Ryan Collinson beat Sutton’s young goalie Dominic Walsham short side to draw themselves within a goal of the home team.
The period was played end to end as both teams worked hard to create opportunities but the score remained 2-1 to Sutton.
Sutton looking the fresher of the two teams in the third and at 46.39 Bridges raced away with the puck up the right wing, dished off a sublime pass to Apsley, who neatly finished the goal of the game.
Less than 10 minutes later Elliott Meadows struck a neat fourth goal to take the game beyond the Steeldogs at 55.48.
But the Dogs weren’t going to roll over and they took an easy tap-in after some sloppy defending at 58.34 to make it 4-2, Collinson doubling his tally for the game.
Sting U18s coach Ian Johnson said. “We have much to improve in our game and our players have plenty more to give. This result is a step in the right direction, but it’s far from where I want us to be.”