There was no shortage of F-words coming from Sheffield Steelers’ coach Paul Thompson’s mouth in the home defeat by Fife Flyers.
I am referring, of course, to Form, Fitness and Flu - three issues which debilitated his side on Wednesday, although they still progressed through to the Challenge Cup semi-final on an aggregate scoreline. Thompson admitted his side were “not very good...lacked snarl and lost their focus.”
He said: “We started period two and three and gave up a goal in the first shift. The focus just wasn’t there. We have a bout of flu going through the camp right now and we really did look low on energy. Levi Nelson came off his sick-bed to come and play for us, I appreciate that.”
The coach said the loss of injured wingers Rob Dowd and Guillaume Desbiens had impacted.
“They are two key players. And there are others playing hurt,” he said.
“Good teams find a way to qualify, I suppose. We weren’t very good. It is a bitter-sweet feeling, I am not overall with our overall performance; I am happy with some of our (individual) performances. But I am happy with the result.”
One player to show his form was the Steelers’ goaltender: “Marek Pinc bounced back with a very good performance, made some big stops for us and kept us in this competition,” Thompson said.
All thoughts now home in on Saturday’s home visit of league leaders Cardiff Devils - the team with the highest scorer (Joey Martin) and statistically the best goaltender (Ben Bowns.)
The Steelers’ team was studying the Welsh playing pattern today, on video, and Thompson thinks the contest can bring the best out of his lads. “We have got to get our snarl back and I am really positive we will. We certainly didn’t have it against Fife.”
He said it was “twitchy and miserable” on the bench against Fife with nerves thrown in.
Now it was “hugely important” to win at home against a team that beaten which beaten them four times out of four at Cardiff.