Minimal reward for hard working Sheffield Steeldogs
Sheffield Steeldogs came through three games to take just two points - but earned a lot of credit for their performances.
The weekend started well with a 7-4 win over Manchester Phoenix.
But that was followed by a gallant 6-5 loss at Guildford Flames and a 7-4 defeat at home to Swindon Wildcats.
Friday night’s visit from the Phoenix started slowly until the Steeldogs found their scoring form and it looked all over when Cole Shudra made it 5-1 at 25.05.
Goals from Hirst, Lascek and Bosas (2) had stunned the visitors in the first session with only a Baranek goal in reply.
After two incidents in previous games, Phoenix forward Michael Satek received a lot of attention and as penalties were called, Manchester made a bit of a third period comeback. Craig Elliott was ejected along with Satek after they ignored the official’s attempts to separate them after a scrap.
Steeldogs were up 6-4 but with penalties to kill in the final minutes, fortunately a Korhon short-handed effort secured the win.
Saturday in Guildford was a case of close but no cigar.
Bosas opened the scoring before four goals in 10 minutes put the Flames firmly in control. The Steeldogs showed their bouncebackability and goals from Lascek, Morgan and two more from Bosas had them level, deep in the final period.
Ultimately they ran out of steam as a Lee Esders goal in the final five minutes secured the win with the Dogs unable to find an equaliser even after pulling net minder Sedlar.
Back home on Sunday night, the final challenge of the weekend came in the form of the Swindon Wildcats, the only team that Sheffield could hope to catch to improve their league position. They started quickly with Andy Hirst beating Stevie Lyle in the second minute. Swindon then began to show their offensive edge with Kostal beating Sedlar.
The game opened up in the middle session; Malasinski finished off an impressive counter attack and Finucci snapped a quick shot home for 3-1. Then a typical Bosas power play effort kept it close going in to the final period. Early goals from Kostal and Hoog seemed to have ended the game but a brace of goals from Korhon got the Dogs back within one goal but the two attempts at pulling the net minder both ended with goals for Finucci as the Wildcats finished winners by 7-4.
Coach Greg Wood speaking after the Swindon game, reflected on his key learns from the weekend and the teams aims for the rest of the campaign; “There have been a lot of positives over the weekend. Over the last 8 games or so our performance has dropped off a little and we were getting away from the things that were making us successful.
"But I think tonight against a strong Swindon side, we dominated a very, very good team. To come out without the points is frustrating. Looking back at three games we arguably should have had 5 points, but you come out with 2 and that's the nature of this league - it's a tough one to accumulate a lot of points in. You just have to keep plugging away.
“Over the next few weeks we have to play to our strengths, recognise what we do to make ourselves successful and replicate that. If we play to the level that we can do, the level we have shown many times this season then we can match any team in this league.
"We have to eliminate the individual mistakes and also the breakdowns in our team systems. We have a few weeks now to focus on that to give us the best chance coming into the run in for the Play Offs.
“We have Peterborough at home on Saturday, a very good team. We have a feeling that we could be playing them in the Play Offs.
"Either Peterborough or Telford, both who we play next weekend. It will be a good chance to pit ourselves up against these two teams. We are more than capable of taking the game to them and coming out with positive results”.