COACH Gerad Adams was left to rue what might have been, after Sheffield Steelers ended their latest Elite League weekend with just a single point.
After a poor showing in Saturday night’s 6-2 hammering at Coventry Blaze – the Midlands club avenging the previous Sunday’s 3-2 overtime defeat in South Yorkshire – the Steelers lost out to defending regular season champions Belfast Giants on a shoot-out at the Odyssey Arena last night.
The visitors had managed to wrestle back the initiative from the Giants, after coming back from 2-0 down to go 3-2 ahead by the end of the third period.
But, with less than a minute remaining, Belfast’s Mike Kompon levelled and then scored the winning penalty shot after a goalless overtime to snatch the extra point.
It was Kompon who had opened the scoring at 23.18 with Ray Sawada doubling the home side’s advantage just under three minutes later.
The Steelers hit back, though, Mike Forney halving the deficit on the powerplay at 29.20 before captain Jonathan Phillips levelled at 37.41. Forney then put his side in front less than a muinute later before the late drama unfolded.
“We did enough to win the game,” said Adams, who had been left far from impressed after the previous night’s trip to Coventry.
“If we had played like that on Saturday we wouldn’t have had any problems. The players have to realise – and I think they do – that this is how hard you have to play every night. This isn’t a game you can turn on and off like a tap.”
On Saturday, the second period saw the Steelers lose the advantage gained by Robert Dowd’s 19th-minute opener when they conceded five unanswered goals, former captain Steven Goertzen’s impressive Blaze running amok at the SkyDome Arena.
Hull Stingrays also finished the weekend with just a point, letting a two-goal lead slip at Edinburgh Capitals last night to follow on from a 4-0 home defeat at the hands of new league leaders Nottingham Panthers on Saturday.
But Omar Pacha’s team came home from Scotland believing they should have both points, losing out after a contentious refereeing decision.
Stingrays thought they had secured the victory when Jordan Mayer’s shot appeared to go in only for the two referees to rule it out, with Dennis Rix eventually claiming the extra point for Capitals in the fourth round of sudden death.
Cory Tanaka put Stingrays ahead on a five-on-three powerplay at 4.18 – his 16th goal of the season – before Yan Turcotte’s first for the club made it 2-0 at 17.51.
After a scoreless second period, Capitals tied the game with two goals in 70 seconds at the start of the third period through player-coach Richard Hartmann (41.14) and Marcel Petran (42.24).
Nothing could separate the two sides, even in overtime, prompting the late shoot-out drama.
“Everyone in the whole building thought it was in, the commentators thought so and the goal judge did too ,” said a disappointed Pacha.
“The only two people who did not see it were the referees. It is very frustrating but what can you do?
“We were up 2-0 going into the third period but we fell asleep for three-four minutes. We had some chances to bury them and then needed some big kills at the end.
“We did not play a great game but it was a chance to steal two points on the road and go .500 for the weekend. One point is not enough from the weekend.”