SECOND PERIOD strikes from Mathieu Roy and Colton Fretter were enough to send Sheffield Steelers to the top of the Elite League table with a 2-0 win at Braehead Clan last night.
The two teams will meet again tonight for the third time in seven days following the Steelers’ 4-1 win at home last Sunday.
Roy’s 16th goal of the campaign was a 31st-minute powerplay strike, with Fretter’s 12th of the season coming just under five minutes later, with goaltender Frank Doyle turning away 30 shots in his shut-out. After tonight’s rematch in Braehead, coach Gerad Adams’s team will head home to prepare for tomorrow’s visit of Coventry Blaze to the Motorpoint Arena (5pm).
They will play host to a club in some turmoil following the departure on Wednesday of head coach Marc LeFebvre following a run of poor results.
LeFebvre, a former Steelers’ forward, had switched to Coventry midway through last season after working as assistant to Doug Christiansen in Sheffield.
He was followed there in the summer by play-off winning Steelers captain Steven Goertzen, who has been installed as his temporary successor at the SkyDome while Coventry ponder their next move.
Goertzen – who filled a similar, temporary role at the Steelers last season following the sacking of Doug Christiansen – has already made a return to South Yorkshire with his new club, losing out 3-1 last month. He is unsure how long he will be in his new role as he tries to arrest a run of seven defeats in nine games.
“I still believe in the guys in the dressing room but we know we need to address some things,” said Goertzen.
“No-one is happy with our record and we have to turn that around. In order to do that we need every guy on board and contributing.
“It is never a good situation when a coach is let go and you feel responsible for letting him down. But it is a wake-up call for the players.”
Hull Stingrays only have the one game this weekend and will be hoping for some overdue success at home to Dundee Stars, who have won on their previous two visits to East Yorkshire.
Omar Pacha’s side have paid Dundee back twice on Tayside, but the player-coach wants to reverse the trend on home ice.
“In both home games against Dundee we have found ways to lose, individual mistakes have cost us and we need to learn from them,” he said.