Sheffield Steelers: Five things about winning...and then losing 0-7.

Five Steeler factorsFive Steeler factors
Five Steeler factors
Sheffield Steelers' opening pre-season weekend ended in embarrassment as they were smashed 7-0 by Leksands of Sweden.

Here's five things to consider in the aftermath:

1: Fitness, energy-fatigue, team-understanding and timing were always going to be an issue on the second night of the opening weekend. It always is.

That will be improved, hopefully to a large degree, before next weekend. Players and coaches have until Saturday September 1 to get that right, when the meaningful action begins.

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2: Ill-discipline was running rampant through the team on Sunday. No matter how frustrated a player is, taking a needless penalty isn't going to help. And if certain rules are now being applied differently in the sport, then each player will have to adapt.

Having said that, the penalty kill was pretty impressive over Saturday and Sunday.

3: While the whole team was shut out on Sunday, there were goals from the first line in Saturday's 3-2 victory.

Spot of bad feeling in Sunday's game. Pic by Hayley RobertsSpot of bad feeling in Sunday's game. Pic by Hayley Roberts
Spot of bad feeling in Sunday's game. Pic by Hayley Roberts

Hopefully Robert Dowd will recover quickly from injury and take up where he left off with Evan McGrath and Jordan Owens.

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But there were several breakaways on Sunday where the finishing touch was missing. Remember - this is a side we are looking for more goals from, compared to last season.

4: Goaltender Jackson Whistle was absolutely sensational on Saturday - the way he challenges shooters has made him a fans' favourite straight from the off. Ryan Martinelli is going to rival Zack Fitzgerald in popularity.

5: If Sunday was bad, next weekend presents an even more dangerous challenge. Leksands missed out on promotion to the SHL in their final game of last season while Timra are a quality Swedish Hockey League team who will have seen the weekend results in Sheffield and will want to do even better on English ice.