AFTER the frustrations of the previous evening’s home defeat to Guildford Flames, the Sheffield Steelers hit back in style with a 6-1 victory at Dundee Stars on Sunday night.
The long wait for a win against the Steelers as coach continues for luckless Stars boss Omar Pacha after his side were steamrollered by visitors determined not to repeat the lapses that had cost them 24 hours earlier.
Up until the around 10-minute mark the sides were locked at 1-1 after Josh Pitt’s first-minute opener for the was cancelled out by the Stars’ Shawn Boutin.
Thereafter, however, the Steelers - for who recently-signed Matt Climie got the start in goal - showed a clinical side to their game not seen often enough this season for some fans’ liking, They went into the first break 3-1 ahead after Rob Dowd’s strike at 11.43 was followed by a short-handed marker from captain Jonathan Phillips with just 35 seconds of the period remaining.
Tanner Eberle’s power play effort at 28.17 reinforced Steelers’ grip on the game, with another goal on the man advantage coming from the stick of Ben O’Connor at 51.12. Fellow defenceman Ryan Martinelli rounding off a solid night’s work with his first of the season at 54.35.
“It was an important game for us for several reasons,” said Steelers’ head coach Tom Barrasso. “Firstly we must beat the teams behind us in the standings, plus we needed a bounce back from a very inconsistent effort (on Saturday). “I thought we stayed to our identity well for the entire 60 minutes.”
The 60-minute game Barrasso referred to was something he felt he didn’t get the previous night when his side were edged out 6-5 by Guildford.
Barrasso felt his players failed to make the Flames work for their chances, something evident by the fact the hosts were 3-0 with just over 15 minutes played.
Power play goals from Evan mcGrath and Stefan Della Rovere made it a one-goal game before the end of the first period, but the Flames were allowed to pull clear once again through goals from Ian Watters and Kruise Reddick.
Again the hosts rallied, this time through Dowd with a third power play effort on the night and Tanner Eberle’s 38th-minute marker.
But the Flames were allowed to get themselves another two-goal cushion before the end of the third with Watters’s power play strike. And, even though Dowd’s deflection of a Davey Phillips shot saw the gap closed once again, there was to be no positive ending to the night as Paul Dixon’s side held on for a deserved two points.
"There were some frustrating moments, I felt we got out of character as a group, the things that we’re trying to build together as a team," said Barrasso on Saturday.
"They are a very gifted offensive team, they’ve got some real goalscorers and we need to make them earn their offence a lot harder than we did (on Saturday) - we provided too many free opportunities."