SHEFFIELD Steelers’ head coach Ryan Finnerty blasted his team after they suffered a second Ice Sheffield defeat of the season to Edinburgh Capitals.
The 3-2 reverse - albeit after a shoot-out - was hardly ideal preparation for the Steelers heading into Tuesday night’s Challenge Cup semi-final, second leg at home to Braehead Clan (7.30pm).
What little chance Steelers had of hauling in leaders Nottingham Panthers will surely have been finally ended in the last 48 hours, especially when combined with the six points Nottingham picked up on a three-game visit to Scotland which puts them 10 points ahead of the South Yorkshire club with just six games remaining.
Finnerty has clearly not been happy with a number of his players since the demoralising 4-2 league defeat in Nottingham 10 days ago, something he confirmed after the Edinburgh defeat.
“We lose a game to Nottingham and our heads go down and we look like we are sulking, we look like a team feeling sorry for itself,” said Finnerty.
“Well they have to snap out of it because there isn’t a person in this league feeling sorry for them right now.
“The time for nurse-maiding ended a long time a go. Guys have to be made personally responsible and accountable. There is still too much to play for left this season.
“We are getting great efforts out of the same guys - such as Michel & DeCaro - but some of the others are looking around the room for others to do the work. Our leaders need to lead more for certain.”
Tylor Michel put the Steelers ahead in their only game of the weekend, striking on the powerplay at 8.46.
But two second period goals in just over five minutes had Steelers’ fans fearing a repeat of the shock 2-1 defeat their team suffered against the same opponents at the same Ice Sheffield venue back in December.
Peter Holecko struck first for the visitors at 24.33 to level matters before player-coach Richard Hartmann put them ahead at 29.59.
Jeff Legue levelled for the Steelers just under four minutes later but, try as they might, the Steelers couldn’t prevent overtime and then a penalty shoot-out.
Shawn Limpright, Michel and Legue all missed for the home side, with Brent Patry finding a way past John DeCaro to earn the Capitals a vital two points.