Steelers’ coaching team will try to re-build the confidence of defenceman Jace Coyle this week, as they move on from Sunday’s damaging 3-2 home defeat to Coventry Blaze.
Coyle is a fast, committed 25-year-old who has barely put a foot wrong for the club. But it was his error that cost Sheffield the points last weekend.
Coach Paul Thompson said: “Jace had got no pressure on the puck, and tried what should have been a routine ‘d to d’ pass, but his back hand hit the back of the (goal) frame, bounced back out,and they scored, just as we’d got the match under complete control.
“Jace has been tremendous for us, he made a bad decision, and made a soft play, with 23 seconds to go. If we’d have secured a point, (in regular time) four on four against a team running out of gas, we’d have won. I shake my head how we lost it. When I think about the teams that have beaten us we lost two to Edinburgh and two to Coventry that is very frustrating,
“But I have to get him and them back up and we will be ready to go on Boxing Day against Nottingham Panthers.”
In fairness, it wasn’t only Coyle’s boob which irked Thompson.
“We gave up three dreadful goals. They must have iced the puck seven or eight times in that period they had nothing left. They are not an easy team to play against, but I am more annoyed by the goals we gave away.
“It’s very frustrating, people make mistakes I understand that, and they cause goals. But we handed a team that had nothing offensively three gifts. Our own goaltender (Marek Pinc) had nothing to do other than pick the puck out of the net three times.”
At the other end, things weren’t much better, he said. “We had seven or eight quality chances but were soft around their net, we have to bear down and be better around there.”
The loss saw Sheffield drop from second to third in the table. They were leapfrogged by Nottingham, who won 5-2 at Manchester Storm 2 - setting up a huge Boxing Day challenge for both sides.