Two point weekend for Sheffield Steeldogs
Sheffield Steeldogs started February with a mixed weekend with a win on the road and a loss at home.
They won 7-3 at Manchester Phoenix before going down 6-3 at home to Basingstoke Bison.
Saturday's trip to Phoenix proved a fruitful one as Greg Wood's full strength team were significantly the better team over the 60 minutes.
Goals from Lascek and Hirst put them in to a surprising two goal lead that they never surrendered.
A Satek hit on Tim Smith left the Steeldogs short on defence but Manchester struggled to capitalise. Ashley Calvert increased the margin before Satek finally got Manchester on the board.
A double strike from Bosas looked to have killed the game off but goals from Gron and Corson-Heron gave the Phoenix faithful some brief hope.
Steeldogs weathered the storm and when Captain Ben Morgan scored his first goal of the season, the game was over as a contest. Stano Lascek scored a great individual goal to put the final nail in Manchester's coffin.
Sheffield would have hoped to carry that fine form home with them but on Sunday the Basingstoke Bison took them apart, scoring five un-answered goals in the opening 13 minutes.
Steeldogs were unrecognisable from the team who had beaten Manchester and the league leading Bison looked like they could score at will.
Lascek grabbed his third goal of the weekend but Bison looked untroubled. 5-1 at halfway and Sheffield were given a ray of hope by a moment of madness when Miroslav Vantroba butt-ended Greg Wood. The Slovak was given a match penalty and the Steeldogs scored twice during the 5 minute power play, both goals from Arnoldas Bosas.
The final period proved a frustrating one and when Matt Towalski stole the puck and scored it killed off an unlikely comeback for the Steeldogs.
Speaking after the game, Captain Ben Morgan wasn’t happy: “To go down 5-0 in the first period is very disappointing on our part. We spoke in the changing room about where we had gone wrong, individual errors, team errors in the wrong places. Basingstoke capitalised on those, being a very offensive team.
"We showed character like we always do and got back into it in the second period, but it is always difficult when you go behind to a team who are at the top of the league. When you have so much fire power, like the Bison do, you are going to put the chances away.
“I don’t think we were anywhere near as disciplined tonight as we were last night against Manchester or in the past few weeks. We were taking far too many penalties and it’s not good enough. The effort is there, you can’t fault that. We just need to be a little more clinical and smarter in certain areas.
"But we’ll get there, it’s another two points we’ve picked up and if we can keep on picking up the points and get to that 54 point mark for a club of our stature it will be a really good season and show the way we are moving. We are looking towards the Play Offs and you know - anything can happen”.
The Steeldogs will look to bounce back next Saturday when the Telford Tigers visit iceSheffield (7.30 face-off).