Sheffield Steelers can give Finnish visitors ‘the elbow’

Jonathan Phillips in action against JYP Jyvaskyla
Jonathan Phillips in action against JYP Jyvaskyla

Jonathan Phillips says the penalty box giveaways that Steelers were guilty of in Champions League Hockey combat in Scandinavia will not be a feature of their play from now on.

Sheffield players were criticised by coach Paul Thompson for the way “individuals took it upon themselves to take selfish penalties that hurt the team” during the Gothenburg game last Thursday.

But Phillips, who took an elbow to the face in his first shift against JYP Jyväskylä in Finland on Saturday, knocking him virtually senseless, feels fatigue was the main factor behind the law-breaking in the 1-9 defeat to Frolunda.

“Some people will look at the 9-1 in Frolunda and mock but they weren’t there” he said.

If they had been they would have seen us compete for the first two periods and then yes, get run over in the third by maybe the best team in Europe.

“The penalties we took weren’t indisciplined penalties they were tired penalties. Penalties that won’t happen in a few weeks time when we are more game conditioned and when playing in our own league.

“The whole trip was more worthwhile” Phillips said. “We played five great periods, in Finland we matched them in the second and third periods. We created chances, hit a post and forced several great saves. We have to remember where we are as a team after two weeks, where we were geographically in Scandinavia playing these quality clubs.

“Our season won’t be judged by these results, but these performances will do nothing but help us come the regular season, and that’s where we will be judged.

“The positives are the five periods out-weighed that one 20 minute session. We can see chemistry in all the units. The new players have settled in, the older guys have started where they left off. I think Tyler Plante has shown what a great goalie he is, positionally, athletically he looks the real deal. We’ll go hard all week and with those extra sessions behind us we can go into Sunday’s game with real positivity that we can pull off a result against JYP at the Arena and do something special.”

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