Sheffield Steelers veteran eyes repeat title win

Paul Thompson running the bench for Sheffield Steelers v Fife Flyers. Pic: Dean Woolley
Paul Thompson running the bench for Sheffield Steelers v Fife Flyers. Pic: Dean Woolley

Rod Sarich watched his previous coach plot a course to the League title, last season.

Now he is hoping that Gerad Adams’ achievement - his last before parting company with Sheffield Steelers - will be emulated by his replacement, Paul Thompson.

The 10-season Steeler says that while there are differences in personal and practical coaching styles they had one thing in common: the desire to win the League title at all costs.

With four games left for Sheffield, that possibility is very much on the table for the league leaders. “There are some differences in techniques, they are different people, but they are both passionate” said Sarich, of the two coaches. “They can come in and bang around the room when the need to.

“There are day to day differences, meetings and discussion etc. There may be a different focus say before a particular match on battle drills, in the corners, for example, now, while Gerad would do a lot more on the flow of passing in the neutral zone. But both are good coaches and we are well set-up to go for this title.”

One-time coach Dave Matsos used to break up the season into blocks of seven games, giving his side a particular points target for each block. Sarich has his own view on the last four games, against Nottingham (a) Coventry (h) Nottingham (h) and Fife (a.)

Rod Sarich - Sheffield Steelers

Rod Sarich - Sheffield Steelers

“The object is to win them all, but maybe we’d be ok if we took all the points bar one. We could afford to drop a point but that’s about it” said Sarich.

“Any team can slip up, we just have to do it less than the others.”

Sarich hopes his team can find the goal touch and power play accuracy that was there against Fife last weekend, but hasn’t always fired on all cylinders.

“Definitely goal scoring is a big thing for us, for whatever reason we haven’t always been finding the net as much as we’d like to. We weren’t executing on the power play as much as we should have done. We also need to score the first goal of matches, we were making too many mental mistakes.

“The Power Play has been successful only in streaks. Sometimes it comes off sometimes it doesn’t. It can look brilliant...passing around well then not taking the opportunity at the end or not burying the second chance. We need it to click.”

Sarich says the side’s stamina will be a key asset.

“We can grind teams down because of our fitness, we’ve been pretty much doing that all year.

“We have some pretty fit guys like Jonathan Phillips, Tyler Mosienko who can skate all night and Jace Coyle at the back who just never gets tired.

“He’s a great skater, I’d like to have seen him in a foot race with Dustin Kohn!”