Best laid plans often go awry.
And Steelers’ carefully engineered pre-season programme has handed them an unwanted string of injuries - and a thoroughly bruising loss, on Sunday.
Ex-Steeler Luke Ferrara nabbed a hat-trick as Blaze banged eight past back-up goalie Brad Day.
On Saturday, Zack Fitzgerald suffered a leg injury after a late hit sent him falling into the rim of the net, during the 2-1 victory over Coventry. He, Colton Fretter (upper body) and Mathieu Roy (multiple issues) all missed Sunday’s horror show at the Skydome.
Fitzgerald could be a few weeks away from returning and the club will likely to check if any concussion-type injuries to Fretter will linger.
Coventry, who scored with two minutes left of Saturday’s match, continued on the front-foot with a second-minute goal from Ferrara.
The pipework rang again from American Ryan Dingle’s shot - but this time the puck bounced clear.
Ferrara - who is motivated to do well at Coventry to prove Steelers wrong - collected his second at 13;31.
Sheffield got their nose back in it with the help of a slice of luck, Mark Matheson’s drive ricocheted off Brett Robinson’s stick into his own goal.
There had been bad blood spilled on Saturday and it returned in this confrontation, after a hit on Levi Nelson by Vojtech Kloz. Shortly after Brady Ramsay dropped the gloves to challenge 6’3” Kloz.
When the penalties were dished out Sheffield came off worst and on the Power Play Ferrara scored his hat-trick, on the half hour mark.
A dispirited Steelers conceded another two minutes later from Jordan Pietrus for 1-4 - then the floodgates opened with two more, from Gaelen Patterson and Ross Venus - four goals in just over three minutes.
Tim Wallace offered some respite with a Steeler goal at 34;10 - but Blaze continued to taunt Steelers with their firepower, ex Sheffield Steeldog Edgars Bebris added a seventh at 42;12 and Robinson an extra at 57;38.
Now Steelers have to regroup before next week’s Challenge Cup action starts - although another injury, this time to Levi Nelson, has not helped.
Sunday 3rd September
Challenge Cup Group A
Manchester Storm 4 Braehead Clan 1
Coventry Blaze 8 Sheffield Steelers 2
Edinburgh Capitals 3 Dundee Stars 2 (Shootout)
Fife Flyers 1 Herlev Eagles (Denmark) 4
Guildford Flames 1 Milton Keynes Lightning 3
Champions Hockey League
Cardiff Devils 4 HC Davos (Switzerland) 3