Manchester Storm 4-5 Sheffield Steelers (match report)
When form is unpredictable a team must first seek a remedy through hard work.
And there is no harder worker skater in the Elite League than Mathieu Roy.
On Sunday, in a niggly mistake-ridden Challenge Cup group game at Manchester Storm, he scored two and made two as Sheffield recorded a 5-4 penalty shot win over their Roses rivals.
Here is a player who will do whatever is required to win.
And his contribution was a major reason why Sheffield grabbed maximum points from their two weekend games.
Doubts remain over Steelers’ defensive calibre though.
They were 4-1 up at 45:38 only to concede three times in three minutes 25 seconds.
Sunday’s game was less than a minute old when Omar Pacha and Colton Fretter clashed, receiving five minute fighting penalties. Steelers settled well and took the lead at 4.52 when Jesse Schultz - who had scored two against them in the earlier Cup group game, slotted away a chance.
But Manchester then caught Steelers out as they pressed on a Power Play, Taylor Dickin equalising at 9;28.
Goalie Ervins Mustukovs snapped an eye watering glove hand save to keep Sheffield level before the first interval.
Cole Shudra thought he’d registered his first goal for Steelers but the net was off its moorings.
But the let-off for the home side was temporary, Roy finishing off from Tyler Mosienko.
Steelers seemed to put daylight between them and Storm when Roy set up Christoffer Bjorklund for 3-1 at 44.18. Then Roy added what seemed the killer fourth himself at 53:30.
As in the previous night, Sheffield shut off, conceding two in 33 seconds through Mario Valery-Trabucco. Steelers could not withstand the pressure - Patrik Valcak making 4-4 at 59:03.
Steelers overcame their frustration by ramming home three penalty shots, Storm missing their last one, to claim the spoils.
*On Saturday, Steelers Brits came to the fore, as Sheffield won their first League game of the season, a 5-3 victory over an unpredictable Braehead Clan side. Steelers took early control with Rob Dowd scoring, and despite Corey Cowick’s reply, Roy gave the Arena side a 2-1 lead.
A 2-0 second session (Ben O’Connor and Andreas Valdix) seemed to set up a comfortable win.
But the Scots hit back with two from Craig Peacock and Matt Beca and it was only when O’Connor got his second of the night that the points looked safe.
Neither coach seemed happy afterwards: Clan’s Ryan Finnerty re-arranging some of the Arena furniture as a protest about refereeing.