How a spot of soul-searching helped Sheffield Steelers

A period of self-analysis and reflection - on top of vastly improved goaltending - has guided Sheffield Steelers to become one of the form teams of the Elite League.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 14th December 2015, 8:36 am
Levi Nelson scores against Belfast Giants
Levi Nelson scores against Belfast Giants

Like table-topping Cardiff Devils, Steelers have won their last four games...and six out of their last seven.

And coach Paul Thompson believes his third-place side have progressed partly because they took a good honest look at themselves after a period of inconsistency.

Asked to account for the surge in form, Thompson said: “Now we are getting some solid goaltending and playing solid in front of our goaltender.

“We solidified, we had a really good look, asked ourselves good questions and we are coming out the other way now.

“This is a good league it’s not easy to win night in night out. I think we have won six out of seven now, so we are going the right way.”

Marek Pinc’s recent performances in goal have been mirrored on the wing by Guillaume Desbiens, who is proving to be a valuable addition.

Levi Nelson scores against Belfast Giants

“Dessy has added a different dynamic to our team. You don’t get to be a captain, an assistant captain, play in the NHL, play in the AHL for best part of 10 years, if you don’t bring that style on a nightly basis.

“He is very popular here, he fitted in from day one and is a huge addition to us. I wanted a Goertzen - Cloutier type - a leader.

“He goes to the dirty areas, takes thee big hit and throws a big hit. He will fight guys for his team.

“(Mathieu) Roy got a big crosscheck last week and he jumped straight on the guy. He’s a great pick up for us.”

Steelers beat Belfast Giants last Sunday despite a gruelling eight hour trip back from Fife Flyers, the night before. They arrived back in Sheffield around 6.30am on game day.

They face a similar challenge next weekend, when they travel to Braehead Clan on Saturday before hosting Thompson’s old team, Coventry Blaze.

“I was worried about fatigue, but no, we had to endure some pressure at times (against Giants), but I thought we were the team that had the legs and closed out a perfectly good weekend” said the coach.

“You have to be in good shape, have to plan for it, have to make sure the guys eat the right things and drink the right fluid.”

While things are going well at Sheffield, they aren’t at Coventry. They have lost their last three and are anchored at the bottom.