LEEDS CHIEFS battled hard to secure their second win of the NIHL National season when they edged out Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Steeldogs 3-2 at Ice Sheffield on Friday night.
The victory took the Chiefs level on points with Milton Keynes Lightning with Sam Zajac’s team knowing a win against Lewis Clifford’s side on Sunday will lift them off the bottom of the standings.
Chiefs’ netminder Sam Gospel turned away 54 of 56 shots while his team-mates repeatedly put their bodies on the line throughout a battling 60-minute performance.
Having enjoyed the better of the first period, with Gospel pulling off stunning saves to deny both Kieran Brown and Cole Shudra, the Steeldogs deservedly went ahead at 24.24 when Nathan Salem was found alone in front off a feed from behind by Brown.
But the Chiefs, who had found clear chances hard to come by up to that point, rallied and levelled through the first of the night from in-form Adam Barnes just over two minutes later.
Although the Steeldogs had several more chances to regain the lead it was the Chiefs who went into the second break ahead, a swift breakaway by Meidl, seeing him lay off to James Archer who in turn fed Barnes on the right from where he rifled his second of the night over Dimitri Zimozdra at 33.03.
As expected, the Steeldogs came out full of intent in the third and Salem equalled Barnes’s tally at the other end to level matters when he showed neat skill and poise to skate across the front of Gospel and then lift the puck home past his outstretched leg at 43.22.
But, once again, the Chiefs were quick to respond, this time Bobby Streetly firing what proved to be the game-winner exactly a minute later.
A huge 5-on-3 penalty kill from the Chiefs gave them extra impetus, with several shots bravely blocked while Gospel maintained a stunning display of goaltending to see his team through to a crucial win.