Steelers' victory given the red light

Ice hockey
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The Independent Online
The Sheffield Steelers coach, Alex Dampier, has refused to criticise match officials following the disallowed goal that denied his side victory in the opening game of the new season.

The Steelers, outplayed throughout the first two periods of the Benson and Hedges Cup Group A tie against a revamped Manchester Storm, thought they had sneaked a win when, with the match tied at 2-2, Tim Cranston struck a shot which cannoned off the underside of the crossbar and apparently over the goal-line. The red light - which indicates whether the puck has crossed - came on and the Sheffield players began their celebrations, only for the linesman to over-rule the goal judge.

Dampier said: "These things happen. The goal judge gave the goal. He has got the best view and so the red light went on and you would assume it was a goal. It's very rare that the linesman over-rules the goal judge, but I am not going to bitch about it. It's swings and roundabouts."

Sheffield, who were forced to defend on six power-plays, went into the game without three key players, while they also lost Mike Ware, their summer signing from the Cardiff Devils, who injured himself during the warm-up.

Paisley Pirates cruised to victory in their opening Benson and Hedges Cup game, beating Telford Tigers 7-2 despite being without their new signing, Mike Bettens.

Two goals apiece for Dean Edmiston, the opener after just 33 seconds, and Paul Hand were instrumental in the Scottish team's victory.

Cardiff Devils' new defenceman Mike McWilliam is likely to miss the Benson and Hedges Cup game with Slough on Saturday as he is still awaiting clearance to enter the country. The 6ft 4in former New York Islander is expected to receive his work permit later this week but should be ready to face Basingstoke at home 24 hours later.

Doug McCarthy and Marty Yewchuck are due to arrive tomorrow while Italian- Canadian Anthony Cercelli, another new defenceman, has already started training with the Devils.

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