Sheffield coach Tom Barrasso has sportingly paid tribute to league leaders Cardiff Devils, who on Sunday cemented their 100% win rate over Steelers, over four meetings.
The American described Devils, three points clear of Belfast Giants at the top of the EIHL, as an "elite" club.
Barrasso said his team had run out of steam after more than holding their own against the champions for 30 minutes on Sunday evening, when the Welsh chalked up a 7-3 victory, their first in three games.
"We rebounded from a slow start to play a solid road game for 30 minutes" he remarked.
"I do believe we ran out of gas, petrol, whatever it is.
"We could not sustain our offensive attack, consequently we were defending too much.
"Cardiff is an elite club. They earned their win.
"I reiterated to the players, after the game, every week the rest of the season will be like this.
"There is tremendous value on every point.
"We must stay in the fight as a unit."
Devils' coach Andrew Lord described the 7-3 game as "a great win, one of the best wins of the season."
He said the team had been "down on bodies" but had responded to adversity.
Lord was pleased with the character his men showed when they were 3-1 down.
Steelers' defeat - they split the weekend with a home win over Guildford Flames - sees them drop a place into eighth spot, although that is within the Play Off group.
They are level on points with Dundee Stars and one behind Manchester Storm.
In the Erhardt conference standings, Sheffield lie bottom of the group with two wins out of 12 against fellow combatants Devils, Nottingham Panthers, whom they play on Saturday, and Belfast Giants.
Giants beat Nottingham Panthers 8-5 on Sunday, a battle between second and third placed teams in the regular standings.