YOU wait four years and three months for a win over the Sheffield Steelers – then two come along at once.
Dundee Stars head coach Omar Pacha liked the feeling of finally getting the better of his bogey side so much – he had come off second-best to the Steelers in all 29 previous encounters as a coach – he decided to repeat the feat, following up a 6-3 win in South Yorkshire on Saturday with a 6-1 trouncing of Tom Barrasso’s team on home ice 24 hours later.
A four-point weekend for the Stars meant a zero return for the troubled Steelers who, due to a combination of seeing their losing streak extended to five games and results elsewhere, are now second-bottom in the Elite League standings and two points off the top eight play-off spots.
There is still plenty of time for Barrasso’s team to ensure they make the post-season – 23 games in fact – but that does not disguise the fact these are worrying times.
Chief of the concerns will be the shortage of defensive options, Josh McFadden joining Davey Phillips on the injured list ahead of last night’s trip to Tayside, while loanee defenceman Jonas Fredriksson has gone back to parent club Sutton Sting.
It meant the Steelers had just four recognised defencemen in Dundee in a game that was effectively lost before the halfway mark when they found themselves 4-0 down. Goals from Brian Hart and Matt Bissonette along with two from former Steelers’ forward Matt Marquardt put the visitors on the back foot with just 27.10 on the clock.
Josh Pitt quickly replied, but the Stars restored their four-goal lead through a second for Bissonnette at 36.16. Josh Corcoran rounded off the scoring on the power play with a little over 11 minutes remaining.
It all made for a rather miserable 48 hours for the Steelers – a complete contrast to the mood in the other changing room and in particular that of Pacha.
The 32-year-old had endured a nightmare run against the Steelers going all the way back to the 2014-15 season when he took over as player-coach of Hull Stingrays.
His misery finally came to an end at Sheffield Arena on Saturday when a Favrizio Ricci hat-trick saw his team complete a deserved victory, the Steelers having clawed their way back from a 3-1 deficit only to concede three unanswered goals in the third period.