IT may have taken a while, but Sheffield Steelers’ head coach Aaron Fox believes his team is beginning to find the right formula for success on home ice in the Elite League.
The Steelers enter the latest weekend of action top of the standings but, overall, that lofty position has been based on their 100 per cent away record.
At home has been a different story, at least in the league, with the Steelers losing four of their seven games.
In the Challenge Cup, it is the reverse, with the Steelers – qualified as Group C winners – unbeaten at home, but losing three of four on the road.
An 8-2 home win over Manchester Storm at home on Wednesday night saw the Steelers move into the knockout stage and hand them some welcome momentum ahead of this week’s double-header against Guildford Flames, with tonight’s first encounter at the FlyDSA Arena (7pm).
“We’ve struggled at home a little bit and we’ve been trying to put our finger on the reason for that,” said Fox. “We go on the road and we play a really simple game and have had a ton of success doing it.
“So we’re trying to figure out a way to play fun, entertaining hockey at home but still stay in concept and make sure we’re doing the little things right and playing the way that we’ve found to have some success away.”
The Steelers will head into the weekend on the back of a further blow after the EIHL’s Department of Player Safety last night handed forward Michael Davies a six-game ban.
The 32-year-old American had a running battle with Manchester’s Mathieu Gagnon during Wednesday night’s clash which resulted in both players being ejected from the game.
But supplementary discipline handed out last night saw Davies handed a one-game ban for slew-footing Gagnon and three games for wiping blood from his face gained during the subsequent fight between the two on to Gagnon’s glove before tossing it back towards the Storm bench.
We’re trying to figure out a way to play fun, entertaining hockey at home but still stay in concept and make sure we’re doing the little things right and playing the way that we’ve found to have some success away.Steelers’ head coach, Aaron Fox
For being a repeat offender, Davies was handed an additional two games.
Gagnon was hit with a two-game ban for the fighting incident with Davies and three games for then throwing his helmet towards the benches when he was led off the ice.