House of Steel capitulates after Cardiff score four times before hosts can reply
So we know: the gap between Steelers and Devils has widened, not narrowed. The Sheffield-reconstruction in the Summer has served only to highlight how good Cardiff are...exactly theÂ opposite of what it was designed for.
Sunday saw Paul Thompson's men nosedive 6-1. TheyÂ have now lost three of their last four.
Without injured Robert Dowd and Davey Phillips and an import recruit yet to find, they wereÂ over-run in the first 15 minutes and never recovered.
They had an early chance when Josh Pitt fired at Ben Bowns' blocker, but after that it was a horror show, especially for goalie Jackson Whistle, who was ill before the game.
His temperature worsened after he tried to pat away a loose puck, failed to make contact and Stephen Dixon slotted home at 4;25.
Whistle was beaten by a low Craig Moore shot you'd expect the GB understudy to save two minutes later.Â And a deflection from Layne Ulmer slowly made its way past him for 0-3 at 7;37.
The Arena was a deadly-quiet place as he was replaced by Brad Day, who promptly faced three shots, one of which zipped past him for 0-4, courtesy of Bryce Reddick.
Devils' Mike Hedden hit the post before Sheffield started to show some character, Pitt scoring amid a scrum at the crease at 16;36.
Steelers, who had stolen a 2-1 win at Manchester Storm on Saturday with two goals in the last six minutes, needed an epic recovery.Â But they couldn't find a goal despite a little more fluency up front.
Pitt missed a decent chance, Tanner Eberle put in strenuous shifts and home debutant Brendan Brooks,Â a match-winner at Storm, hitÂ the post.
Cardiff coach Andrew Lord called a time out as if to recognise this - he was rewarded whenÂ Joey Martin knocked in a soft goal from the edge of the crease.
Jiri Gula took a penalty and Dixon stroked in his second of the night, for 1-6.
Devils'Â Hedden hit the post and Matt Pope's effort was stopped on the line.
Jonathan Phillips, at least, hammered in Sheffield's second at 44;13. But it was no consolation. And the boos rang out.
Afterwards, coach Paul Thompson took responsibility for the defeat and admitted he is under pressure.