Spring Cup: Steeldogs clinch Spring Cup prize

Sheffield Steeldogs are the Spring Cup champions (PHOTO: Sheffield Steeldogs)

SATURDAY

Bees 1 Sheffield Steeldogs 4

Sheffield Steeldogs have won the Spring Cup after picking up a ninth straight win over the Bees in a 4-1 win.

This result, coupled with Telford’s loss on Friday proved to be enough to get them over the line with three games to go as Tigers can only get 18 points – the tally Steeldogs are currently on.

The head to head record favours Steeldogs, having beaten Tom Watkins’ men twice in the series which is why they can celebrate post match.

As for the game itself, Steeldogs were heavy favourites and certainly lived up to the billing, but had to come from behind as the Bees took the lead.

Josh Smith opened the scoring at the later end of the first period, but Sheffield fought back to equalise after the first break as Ben Lake scored on the delayed penalty.

Jonathan Phillips put Greg Wood’s men in front with a shorthanded finish and from there, Steeldogs didn’t look back as they asserted themselves on the game.

Lake’s second opened up a two goal gap on the powerplay after the half hour mark, but Bees couldn’t find a way back.

Liam Kirk, who has had such an excellent tournament, fittingly sealed the win an excellent shorthanded goal to not only take the win, but confirm trophy success for Sheffield Steeldogs.

Raiders 6 Swindon Wildcats 3

After the joy of beating Telford Tigers on Friday, Swindon couldn’t replicate that form when they travelled to Romford, as Raiders picked up their second win of the competition.

It was a big victory for Sean Easton’s side as they look to end the Spring Cup on a high and this result will go some way to achieving that.

It was a whirlwind opening ten minutes as both teams shared three goals, starting with Tommy Huggett netting inside the first three minutes, cancelled out by Aaron Nell within a minute later.

Josh Batch put Wildcats ahead on the powerplay as they inched in front, but as the game moved on, Raiders were starting to find space and create chances.

They equalised through Glenn Billing, scoring the only goal in the second period then they went in front six seconds into the final period through captain Aaron Connolly.

The final 20 minutes certainly added drama to the occasion and perhaps the exertions from the game on Friday took its toll on Swindon late on.

Chris Jones tied the game at 3-3 with just under eight minutes to go, but Raiders seemed to find another gear as Erik Piatak restored the advantage a minute later, then Brandon Aycliffe and Harry Gulliver secured the points.

Tigers won the previous two meetings against the Bees. Will they claim the points again on Sunday? (PHOTO: Steve Brodie)

SUNDAY PREVIEWS

Telford Tigers vs Bees (2pm) (Click for streaming info)

The silverware may longer be up for grabs, but these two teams will be looking for the highest placing possible as the Spring Cup starts to wind down.

Telford’s loss to Swindon on Friday night proved to be the one that’s did for their Spring Cup hopes so Tom Watkins and his team will go out to try and finish off in the silver medal position.

Tigers opened the competition against the Bees at the end of February and a 5-1 home win was followed up by a 2-1 road win, but that early season form has tailed off.

Defeats in the last three games have left Tigers behind and now they’ll look to take that out on Bees, who are rock bottom of the five-team tournament and needing something to lift them.

Their only win away at Raiders is dead centre of a four-game losing run either side of it from their nine games so getting more points on the board and getting off the bottom of the table at the centre of their objectives in these final games.

Sheffield Steeldogs vs Raiders (5pm) (Click for streaming info)

Sheffield Steeldogs return to Yorkshire in the knowledge the Spring Cup is on its way and while they can’t celebrate in the way they would like, they’ll still want to complete the campaign with full marks.

Visiting them are Raiders, who did their hopes of getting out of the ‘wooden spoon’ position the world of good with that win over Swindon Wildcats on Saturday.

It hasn’t been easy at times for them, but the mindset will be a positive one at least and as long as they don’t concede seven like they have in each of the previous two meetings against the Steeldogs.

Brandon Aycliffe has found the net in each of his last four games and while the Steeldogs’ defence will be a tough proposition, he may well fancy his chances of adding to that run.

It’ll be a good night for Steeldogs as they enjoy what’s left of the campaign, but finishing with a 100% record is a carrot that will keep them going until the very end.

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