SHEFFIELD STEELERS: Goalie John DeCaro must become a big rink specialist

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JOHN DeCaro needs to transfer the goaltending excellence he shows on the small ice rinks to the bigger surrounds of Sheffield Arena.

The Sheffield Steelers’ goaltender has let some sloppy goals past him so far this campaign, although that didn’t stop Ryan Finnerty’s men going to the top of the Elite League.

DeCaro currently has the poorest save percentage of all Elite goaltenders, yet there is no doubt that on his day, he is equal to the likes of rivals Craig Kowalski, Stephen Murphy and Peter Hirsch.

Arena fans were dismayed at two of the near-post goals he conceded last Saturday against Coventry Blaze. Coach Finnerty said after that performance: “We are behind Johnny but he needs to be better. Just like Roddy Sarich and Jeff Legue needs to be better. We have guys that need to up their game.

“Every time they seemed to come down the ice they scored. We can’t have that. There were a couple of goals last weekend that Johnny wanted back. We shouldn’t be beaten short-side and Johnny knows that.

“We need Johnny, if we are going to do anything this year we need Johnny to play better.

“I’m not berating or threatening him. But I know he can be a better goalie. We are behind him, he needs to step his game up. We need him more than anybody on that team.

“He plays well in small rinks, he always plays well in Cardiff and on the road in Coventry.

“But we play in a big rink! With a little confidence he will come round.”

Steelers, who play tomorrow at Nottingham Panthers and host Belfast Giants on Sunday are currently the League’s top Power Play side with a 44 per cent score rate.