PAUL THOMPSON said his Sheffield Steelers team had learnt the hard way in order to finally get the better of bogey side Edinburgh Capitals.
Two previous meetings had seen the Scottish club emerge triumphant both in Murrayfield and after a shoot-out at an earlier at Ice Sheffield.
But a rematch in South Yorkshire at the same venue on Wednesday night saw the Steelers vanquish their earlier setbacks against Riley Emmerson’s team, the defending Elite League champions proving dominant from start to finish in a handsome 6-1 victory.
A bonus for Thompson was that two of his star forwards got among the goals, with Colton Fretter grabbing a stylish hat-trick and Mathieu plundering two goals to take his tally for the season to 17.
Save for a slight wobble early in the third period when Edinburgh got on the board through Trevor Gerling, it was almost a complete performance from the Steelers, who have now won four of their last five games.
“I was really satisfied with that performance against Edinburgh,” said head coach Thompson.
“I thought our speed and transition was good but, more importantly, we respected what they are good at and we took that away and nullified that.
“Also with the powerplay - and I haven’t said this for a long while - but that was 100 per cent tonight, the PK was 100 per cent tonight, and we scored a shortie as well.
“Added to that, our big guns - Fretter and Roysy scored five of our six goals tonight. So, all in all it was a great team performance, great energy and we kept to the plan which we hadn’t done against Edinburgh before and we came unstuck.”
Thompson admitted the third goal from star man Fretter left him purring.
“That hat-trick strike was a beauty,” added Thompson. “But he does that, he goes to the outside, he has the speed and he’s as strong as a bull.
“He’s excellent at taking pucks to the net and, as a defenceman, you’ve either got to take a penalty or he’s going to get a scoring chance.”
Perhaps the most surprising thing of the night was the source of Steelers’ opening goal in the 15th minute, defenceman Zack Fitzgerald stepping up into the play to fire a rasping shot in off the pipes past a helpless Carsen Chubak in the Edinburgh goal.
While delighted to see the former Braehead Clan D-man get off the mark, Thompson was quick to praise the role played by forward Fredrik Vestberg, who the Steelers coach felt was a positive influence all night.
“I thought our speed and transition was good but, more importantly, we respected what they are good at and we took that away and nullified that.”Sheffield Steelers head coach, Paul Thompson.
“It was Fitzy’s first of the season and it was a beautiful goal,” said Thompson, “But (Freddie) Vestberg is bit of an unsung hero for us, you know.,
“He gets in the offensive zone, he delays and he lays off a little pass for Zack to skate on to as the fourth guy on the rush and Fitzy really wired that - snapped that top cheese and it went all the way round the back of the net - beautiful goal.
“It was a crucial moment in the game because we’d had a lot of the pressure at that point, but nothing was going in.
“And you would probably have got good odds on that not happening, but I’m really glad Fitzy’s got his first of the year as well as getting us up and running on the night.”