HEAD COACH Paul Thompson described Tyler Mosienko as the “heartbeat” of Sheffield Steelers after helping inspire the club to a 5-0 victory over Coventry Blaze.
Any hopes Coventry had of avenging the previous weekend’s 4-0 Challenge Cup loss in their own rink were ended before the halfway mark at the Motorpoint Arena on Saturday night, the home side having already scored all of their goals in the Group B encounter.
The last two of those came from the stick of 31-year-old Canadian forward Mosienko, now in his second season in South Yorkshire.
Thompson revealed afterwards that he was always desperate to get Mosienko to return in the summer, describing his latest performance as “superb.”
“That is why I wanted him back so much,” said Thompson. “After watching the tapes after I’d signed, I was thinking ‘Crikey - why isn’t this guy signed up?!’
“He’s the heartbeat of the club, he’s the engine and I’m loving the way he’s playing right now. He was great against Coventry - just superb.”
Mosienko’s first of the night came at 26.03, following good work by Ben O’Connor and Mike Duco.
Just under two minutes later he had struck again, registering his fourth goal of the season in as manay matches.
Earlier in the night, Frederik Vestberg had opened the scoring at 4.59 when he fired high on Blaze goaltender Brian Stewart.
Levi Nelson was next to strike, stealing the puck from former Steelers’ forward Ashley Tait at 7.51 to double the lead 2-0.
Robert Dowd then made it 3-0 at 21.51 from a Jeff Legue feed before Mosienko got in on the act.
The Steelers will next begin the defence of their regular season Elite League title, heading to Dundee Stars on Saturday before returning to Challenge Cup Group B action with a first visit of the season from Manchester Storm.
Right now, Thompson is finding it difficult to find fault with his team’s performances, although he is aware improvements always have to be made.
“We’ve had three games now where we’ve scored 17 goals and conceded just the one and there was another shut out here for Tyler (Plante, netminder),” he added. “There’s no criticism of the way we’re playing but, from a constructive point of view, perhaps our powerplay isn’t playing at the same level of intensity as when we are at 5-on-5 or 4-on-4.
“We’re actually slowing it down and I want to speed that up because I think with our skill set and the guys we have there, we could be far more dominant.
“It is not a criticism, but the best teams - as well as looking at what they do well - also look at what they need to do better and that’s one area we need to be better in.”
Thompson said his players had deserved an extra day off following Saturday night’s performance, reward not just for their second shut out in three games, but for the attitude and effort displayed since they first arrived for pre-season training camp in the middle of August.
“While I like the way we’re rolling, we’ve got to not just maintain this level of performance, but improve on that because we want to become a better hockey club,” added Thompson.
“We’re going to give the players two days off - everyone here deserves it - and then we’re going come back at it on Tuesday because, when you think about it, it’s been a long six weeks for us all.”
Elsewhere, in the English Premier League, Sheffield Steeldogs enjoyed a maximum points return for the weekend, following up Saturday’s 5-4 win at Milton Keynes Lightning with a 3-1 win over Swindon Wildcats the following night on home ice.
Arnoldas Bosas pounced twice on the road for Greg Wood’s team, with Steven Duncombe, Stanislav Lascek and Lubomir Korhon also getting on the scoresheet.
Bosas was again the leading ma for Steeldogs on home ice, scoring two more with a third strike coming from Lascek.
Hull Pirates are still awaiting their first win, losing 7-2 to Telford Tigers and 10-3 to Bracknell Bees.