Disastrous road trip for Thommo’s men: Coventry Blaze 5-1 Sheffield Steelers. New player set to arrive

Saturday's match-winner Robert Dowd. Pic by Hayley Roberts
Saturday's match-winner Robert Dowd. Pic by Hayley Roberts

Steelers coach Paul Thompson will carry out a root and branch analysis of his side after they were savaged at Coventry Blaze.

The team boss had shown no signs of making changes to his side so far - although Juha Koivisto is to complete his unremarkable stint with the Play Off Champions and return to Finland. A replacement is being sought.

A single goal with six minutes left was all that stopped his side from being shut out twice in a week.

Steelers, who had been outshot by the same opposition yet won 5-2 the previous night, well beaten. The conceded three times in the first nine minutes - a collapse which brought earlier season games against Nottingham and Belfast to mind.

All three were even-handed efforts, started by Adam Courchaine’s tip in. Eighty five seconds later Marc-Olivier Vallerand added another, followed swiftly by Ben Lake, who had a big section of the net to aim at.

Paul Thompson had administered a few hidings when he was coach at Coventry, but now he was facing one in Steelers’ colours. He called a Time Out to see if he could trigger some organisation at the back and pressure up front.

Luke Ferrara scores v Steelers

Luke Ferrara scores v Steelers

Ex Blaze winger Matt Marquartd, on target the night before, put a puck on the post as Sheffield sought a way back in.

When the second period started Levi Nelson was on the end of a big hit from Danick Paquette - a player that has not exactly endeared himself to the visitors in the past.

Steelers had to expend energy with penalties called against Jonathan Phillips and Ben O’Connor.

And at a time when they most needed a goal, they conceded Paquette making himself even more unpopular

Just to round things off, Nelson was handed a ten minute misconduct.

So now Steelers needed to score at least four in the last session, no small task against any Elite League opposition.

Coventry, who put eight past Steelers in a pre-season friendly, were stopped from smashing another in by a superb Ervins Mustukovs save at the start of the third period.

But a Gustav Ahnelov tripping penalty gave Steelers a chance to show their firepower. Sadly, it exploded in their faces, with Ryan Dingle becoming the fifth Coventry man to find the net, this time short handed and unassisted, at 45:26

John Armstrong restored a little dignity with his third goal in three games at 53;20, Jonathan Phillips and Marquardt assisting.