Weekend wrap up: Manchester Storm 5-4 Sheffield Steelers (Overtime)

After 777 games in the NHL Tom Barrasso will be used to more highs than the lows in professional ice hockey.

Sunday, 27th January 2019, 7:14 pm
Updated Sunday, 27th January 2019, 7:18 pm
Aaron Johnson and Jackson Whistle defend against Manchester

But last Saturday took him deep to unchartered territory.

His Sheffield team were humiliated 0-6 by Glasgow Clan in a performance another member of the club's staff described as "embarrassing, spineless."

Even if Steelers had won 6-0 on Sunday at Manchester, (they lost 4-5) it would not have taken the bitter taste out of the American coach's mouth.

His game plan, forged from the experience gleaned from his illustrious pedigree, had been ignored by some players, who had "selfishly" chosen to go their own way.

Behind closed doors, on Saturday, after worst ever loss at home ín the Elite League, he delivered this message: "You either buy in and we'll play the way we are looking for you to play or you can get out. It's that simple."

Sunday saw the team play with much more dedication and willingness to follow orders. Twice they were ahead by two goals. It wasn’t enough for both points.

Aaron Johnson and Jackson Whistle defend against Manchester

But at least Barrasso “recognised” that his side had found some form of coherent form.

Playing a Storm team that had travelled back from a 3-1 defeat at Dundee in the early hours, Steelers conceded after being caught two-on-one, after eight minutes, Chris Auger finding the net.

But Evan McGrath levelled, with his first goal in seven games at 10:10.

And Anthony DeLuca illustrated his growing influence by putting Sheffield ahead for the first time of the weekend at 22:37. The stocky 23-year-old added a second seven minutes later to create a 3-1 advantage.

Steelers equalise at Manchester

But Steelers' defence could do nothing to stop Dallas Ehrhardt netting on the power play at 31:42.

Tanner Eberle steered in a fourth, though, to give Sheffield a 4-2 lead at the second break.

Once again, Storm clawed back to a single-goal deficit with captain Dane Byers beating Whistle.

The home side's second PP goal of the night, from Felix-Antoine Poulin, saw both teams level with ten minutes on the clock.

Tom Barrasso spells it out

At the end of a gruelling weekend, and with the match going into overtime, this was about who wanted it most.

Steelers took the initiative, driving forward, yet they conceded a Ciaran Long goal and had to settle for a single point.

**Barrasso has confirmed to The Star that he has no role in actively scouting replacement players.

"I think it is more proactive from an agenting standpoint; communication with the agents happen on a daily basis," he said.

"It is a pretty thin market out there right now.

"There is no priority (for any specific position to be filled) any good player that could add to our line up would be a huge, welcome addition."

Jackson Whistle concedes at Manchester
Sheffield Steelers up against a brick wall on Saturday