Sheffield Steelers wasted an opportunity to build on Friday’s win at Belfast with a Saturday show that was undermined by indiscipline and tiredness.
Coach Paul Thompson was angry at some of his players who overstepped the mark - and equally unhappy about the refereeing on the second of the evenings at the SSE Arena.
Zack Fitzgerald was banned for four matches after Saturday’s check to the head on the deeply unpopular Spiro Goulakos.
And Andreas Jamtin, star player in the first of the weekend games which Sheffield won 3-2, was also ejected after going for David Rutherford.
“We were deserved winners and played smart, disciplined hockey on Friday, but we let that discipline get away from us on Saturday, taking 61 penalty minutes” said Thompson.
“I don’t think everything that was called against us was justified, but we looked a tired group after something like seven games in 15 nights.
“I wasn’t unhappy with the effort but we didn’t have the spark.”
Asked if the League punishment to Fitzgerald was justified he replied: “I don’t know how the Department of Player Safety works now or what is considered fair. I was not happy with the incident and it put us under pressure with five ‘D’ again...this has got to stop.
“But Goulakos did the same thing and just got a one-game ban. His seemed more premeditated.”
As for Jamtin, Thompson claimed Rutherford is skilled at enticing retaliation, but he said his own player “has to be smarter.”
D-man Ben O’Connor, at fault with one of Giants’ goals, was the only Sheffield scorer on Saturday as the entire forward line unit was closed down. Andreas Valdix’s line barely got a look-in, because of the amount of penalties to be killed.
Darcy Murphy, Rutherford (two) Jonathan Ferland and Colin Shields did the damage for Giants who reclaimed their position as number two in the League with the 5-1 victory.
Steelers must now commence planning for their Continental Cup final mission next weekend in Minsk.