PAUL THOMPSON admitted his Sheffield Steelers were experiencing “tough times” as their bid for a sixth Elite League title was seriously undermined by defeat in South Wales on Saturday night.
If there is one that will kill the Steelers’ title hopes this season it will be their form against Erhardt Conference rivals Cardiff Devils, belfast Giants and Nottingham Panthers.
In 10 games so far this season, the Steelers have only once come away with the two points, that being on home ice against Cardiff back in october.
But the Devils were fully deserving of their 4-1 win in Cardiff on Saturday night, a result which moved themn top of the overall standings.
Ahead of Sunday night’s home encounter against Fife Flyers, the result left the Steelers in fourth, four points back from the Devils and having played two games more.
“It’s tough times right now,” admitted Thompson. “But I saw an increase in our battle level. Conceding the first goal early was a blow and, despite having some good chances to get back to 1-1, we just failed to convert.
“There was no lack of effort, the club wasn’t cheated by anyone out there, but the reality is right now that we are going through a tough time scoring. We need to find the courage and confidence to play and that’s hard when we are going through this period we are in.
“We know we are going to take flack, thats the nature of the beast.”
Justin Faryna, returning after two weeks on the sidelines due to injury, put the Devils ahead after less than two minutes, assisted by Joey Haddad and Paul Crowder.
Cardiff extended their lead in the 14th minute, with Crowder benefitting from build-up work by Haddad and Faryna.
It got worse for the Steelers early in the second period, with star performer Faryna scoring his second of the night at 21.21 before earning another assist when Haddad completed his own double five minutes later.
Andreas Jamtin pulled one back for the Steelers in the 34th minute, but it proved little more than a consolation.
There was no lack of effort, the club wasn’t cheated by anyone out there, but the reality is right now that we are going through a tough time scoring.Sheffield Steelers’ head coach, Paul Thompson