FULL TIME: Cardiff Devils 4-1 Sheffield - another Conference sickener for Steelers
If Sheffield Steelers are going to advance anywhere near the top of the League one thing is certain: the second half of the season is going to have to be a lot different from the first.
To put it bluntly, results against their peers in the Erhardt Conference have been dire - eight losses in nine games before Sheffield took to the ice at Cardiff Devils this evening.And that trend continued for the first half of this game, with Devils racking up a 4-0 lead.Justin Faryna took less than two minutes to give the Welsh the lead, followed by strikes from Paul Crowder, Faryna again and Joey Haddad.
Defensively it was a mess.
Offensively, Steelers had to wait until the 33rd minute before Andreas Jämtin - not renowned for his scoring - showed the others where the net was.The goal gave Steelers some encouragement, and Ben Bowns was a busy netminder up until the second interval at a sold out Ice Arena Wales.
Defenceman Zack Fitzgerald, back after a serious facial injury, tried to stimulate more offence with a wrist shot on Bowns three minutes into the final session.
Steelers had chalked up their one Conference win against Devils in October, but there was no way back in this one.
Coach Paul Thompson commented: " “There was no lack of effort, the club wasn’t cheated by anyone out there but the reality is right now we are going through a tough time scoring.
"We need to find the courage and confidence to play and that's hard when we are going through this period we are in.
“Give credit to Matt Marquardt, he tried to take the game by the scruff of it’s neck. Tim Wallace hit everything that moved as did Andreas Jamtin
“We know we are going to take flak, that's the nature of the beast. We did a lot of things right but we just aren’t as hungry as other teams around the crease.
“We’ve had a lot of hockey recently, we have to get back home and come to the Arena with a bounce in our step and find some confidence. We won’t shy away, we won’t hide and we will come out fighting with everything we have on Sunday against Fife.”
Fourth place Steelers are now tied on points with Guildford Flames and Manchester Storm.
Saturday 16th December
Braehead Clan 3 Guildford Flames 5
Cardiff Devils 4 Sheffield Steelers 1
Manchester Storm 2 Nottingham Panther 1 (After Overtime)
Milton Keynes Lightning 6 Coventry Blaze 1
Challenge Cup Quarter Final 1st leg
Fife Flyers 3 Belfast Giants 3
* Great Britain Under-20s take the bronze medal after they missed out on promotion following a final-day 5-2 defeat by Japan U20s in the Under-20 World Championship Division II Group A in Dumfries.
Japan's 5-2 victory secured them the gold and promotion to Division 1 Group B, while Korea claimed the silver medal with a 5-2 win over Romania earlier in the day.