Paul Thompson will ask owner Tony Smith to bankroll a longer pre-season training camp should Steelers return to Champions Hockey League action next year.
Sheffield contained Frolunda Gothenburg for much of Saturday’s tussle, but again ran out of steam and discipline, going down 4-1 - their fourth straight tournament loss.
Last night in a Challenge Cup appointment at Cardiff they dipped 5-3, after being behind from the second minute.
Asked if there was anything different Thompson could to improve, should Steelers reach next season’s CHL, he replied: “Hopefully get a longer training camp before the real thing starts. Elite League teams have actually had longer together to play themselves in a competition than we had when we went over to Frolunda. We were together just a week. I’d like two or three weeks together before we enter this competition again.”
But can UK’s minority sport ever really compete with ice-reared Europeans?
“Look at Norwegian teams now,” said Thompson. “They are knocking out Swiss teams that are paying millions of Euros and they weren’t far enough away from where we are. This experience will move British hockey forward.”
Steelers could have taken the lead after a Swedish breakdown, Mathieu Roy unable to execute one-on-one. Roy was upset again when he was awarded a high-stick penalty on Elias Falth. Finnish U20 winger Artturi Lehkonen dominated the Power Play - shooting twice on Tyler Plante before passing to d-man Falth who drilled home ( 16;35.)
Sheffield then took the game to Frolunda. Fredrick Vestberg missed a golden opportunity to score against his countrymen but at 35;50, on the PP, Levi Nelson slotted home from close-range.
But Frolunda turned the screw. Roy - not having the best of nights - saw a puck bounce off his boot for Lehkonen to despatch.
That was followed five minutes later by a Swedish third, Ryan Lasch netting after Nelson lost sight of the puck. Gothenburg helped themselves to a fourth from Falth.
Last night, Steelers conceded during the early traditional, frantic Devils assault, Joe Haddad shooting home.
Having been cautioned by Thompson about taking penalties, Sheffield set about filling the penalty box, Devils doubling their advantage on a 5-on-3 PP through Joey Martin.
Colton Fretter tried to revive Sheffield, his shot hitting a post, and they had their own 5-on-3 but Devils’ netminder Ben Bowns was unflappable.
Both sides had claims for a goal washed out, Devils hit the bar but neither side’s offensive units could click until a deluge of goals, all in two minutes seven seconds. Rob Dowd scored on the PP (44;06.) Hudson responded and Mike Duco made it 2-3 before Leigh Salters scored for Devils. Duco then made it a one goal game with four minutes remaining.
An empty netter from Jake Morissette in the dying seconds delivered a 5-3 Welsh win.