Sheffield Steeldogs emerge as conference champions

Sheffield Steeldogs won the NIHL North One title after coming out on top in a winner-takes-all double header weekend against Hull Pirates on 9 March.

The Steeldogs’ Yorkshire rivals had been nipping at their heels all season, before a dominant win at the Telford Tigers last week sent them top and set the weekend up for a much-anticipated, all-or-nothing two-part decider.

The Steeldogs emerged as 1-0 winners in a tight first game at Ice Sheffield with James Spurr being the sole scorer of a 12th minute powerplay goal.

They consolidated their victory with a thrilling follow-up 6-4 win in front of a sell-out crowd in Hull last night.

The teams were tied 4-4 before Liam Charnock put the Steelers ahead in the 37th minute and Adrian Palak sealed victory with their sixth.

The Pirates’ Jason Hewitt and the Steelers’ Ben Morgan are both rookie player-coaches who played together for the Steelers in the 2009-10 season.

Speaking after the game last night, Morgan said: “This league has been very, very tough. It’s been an absolute slog. I have to give full credit to Hull, we’ve made the series between us over the course of the season one of the best.”

Both the Steelers and the Pirates will now have to prepare for their post-season play-off fixtures against the Billingham Stars and the Blackburn Hawks respectively.