Paul Thompson won’t be drawn on the “chalk and cheese” decision he must make over goaltending at Sheffield Steelers.
The coach brought in former Czech international Marek Pinc after injury to American regular Tyler Plante. Their styles are poles apart, but in sport, the most effective player competing for a role tends to get the nod.
Marek had a competent debut in Saturday’s 4-2 home win over Dundee Stars. On Sunday night, at Edinburgh Capitals he conceded six in a peculiar 7-5 loss where Steelers’ defensive plans were put to the sword.
Speaking after the iceSheffield victory Thompson said of his recruitment: “I had three or four days to sign a guy. I had options, two north Americans and Pincey, and went with the experienced guy. I’m glad he is here. He is totally opposite (style to Plante.) He has a European style, Tyler is a big 6ft 4ins, butterfly takes away the bottom of the net, he is more reaction. Pinc is not a big guy; he has got his speed and his awareness. He looks compact...he plays the puck well.” Asked about future decision-making, he replied: “He was brought in to cover Tyler, that’s where we are right now.”
On Saturday, Steelers were direct right from the word go. On his first shift Rob Dowd was put in a good position by linemates Jeff Legue and Levi Nelson and scored, backhand, after 80 seconds. It was 2-0 three minutes later, Nelson profiting from the same line’s high-intensity.
Pinc had two easy saves to make but was beaten at the third attempt by David Turon, shooting in from close range at 8;28. It was a flattering scoreline for Stars. Their Czech goalie Vlastimil Lakosil kept them in it, stopping a Legue breakaway and then seeing a Mike Duco shot pound off his helmet.
Lakosil, the first Summer import signing made by Marc Lefebvre, kept Sheffield at bay and on a short-handed session Dundee equalised, Brett Switzer scoring despite Pinc’s goal being off the moorings.
Lakosil frustrated the home side until Mathieu Roy snatched at a mid-air puck and flicked it past him.
The visitors were stubborn, d-man Martins Porejs illustrated that with a brave block of Roy’s slapshot as Steelers tried to make the game safe. Dowd chalked his second in the final session. Fredrick Vestberg thought he’d added another on a turnover but his shot hit the underside of the bar.
Dundee continued to look for something from their rare attacks, Wetmore htting Pinc’s post.
n Matches at Edinburgh can be high-scoring affairs and Sunday was no different. Pinc conceded three straight goals from Paul Zanette, Nate Fleming and Craig McCallum in seven minutes.
Before the first period ended Steelers steadied the ship, Roy and Legue scoring in a 32-second burst.
But they were outgunned again, conceding a Ryan Hayes effort at 22;03 and it was 5-2 when McCallum got his second.
Tyler Mosienko grabbed one back with 15 seconds to go of the second period.
Roy’s predatory instincts brought the game back to a one goal disparity, striking at 40;42. But then McCallum struck a memorable hat-trick.
With eight minutes left Steeler Chris Lawrence brought the scoreline back to 5-6, in Caps’ favour. But Hayes’ empty-netter ensured a 7-5 Caps win.