Steelers had said they were not travelling across Europe to make the numbers up.
But, in the end, the numbers don’t lie.
Steelers, who lost star import winger Mathieu Roy to puck-to-foot injury, managed an underwhelming 14 shots to Salzburg’s total of 38.
None of the South Yorkshire forwards registered a goal, defenceman Christoffer Bjorklund notching their single success, while the host side rattled in eight.
The penalty minutes read 26 to Steelers, four to Red Bull. That translates to three power play goals to the Austrians.
Penalties taken by the likes of Davey Phillips, Mike Ratchuk and Levi Nelson harmed their own club.
And the savage 0-4 last period had reminiscences of Paul Thompson’s side being put to the sword last year, by
Frölunda Gothenburg of Sweden.
It now looks like Brexit for the British champions.
But while progression into the next round of the Champions Hockey League is something of a pipe-dream, it is worth remembering that the 9-1 collapse 12 months ago didn’t do them any lasting harm.
Sheffield went on the win the Elite League, which after all, is the most realistic measure of their abilities as a club.
On Saturday night they were unlucky to come up against ex Florida Panthers and Pittsburgh Penguins NHL rifleman Bill Thomas. The 6ft 2ins marksman joined Red Bull in the Summer and looks like he has lost few of the qualities that saw him grace the NHL for 87 games.
He scored in each period, two in the hideous last session, and was frankly unstoppable. He’d never even scored a hat-trick before, let alone four. But he looked on a different level.
It was the 33-year-old American forward who started the rout, breaking a 15-minute deadlock in which Sheffield had
held their own.
Austrian international and eight-year Red Bull servant Manuel Latusa started off the second period by firing past
Ervins Mustukovs. And Thompson called a time out to take stick after Thomas made it 3-0 at 24;14.
Bjorklund got one back on the Power Play, for the otherwise attack-challenged British visitors.
Another big winger Thomas Raffl ensured Sheffield went into the dressing room three goals to the bad, his shot cannoning off Ben O’Connor’s boot.
After the second interval, Sheffield were over-run. Indiscipline on top of 11 hours of travel took over.
Thomas bagged two in 10 minutes and Canadian centre Johnny Hughes ran up a seventh at 54:35
With 21 seconds left defenceman Alexander Pallestrang drilled home the final goal - yet it was still not enough the quell the travelling Steelers fans. Afterwards Thompson hinted that players who did not buy into his game-plans or took off-the-puck ‘selfish’ penalties would be shipped out.
It’s clearly the end of his bro-mance with the team.
He told The Star: “We were up against a team that could play in any league in the world, but some of our indiscipline was unacceptable.
“Travel was an issue too - we did three countries in three days. Really, we had needed to keep the scoreline close so progression now..it’s going to be tough.”
READ MORE: Click here for all the latest news from the ice hockey scene RESULTS
Sunday 21st August
Belfast Giants 1 Fischtown Pinguins (Germany) 7
Cardiff Devils 2 HC Banska Bystrica (Slovakia) 4
Saturday 13th August
Cardiff Devils 0 Medvescak Zagreb (Croatia) 6
Sheffield Steelers 4 Aalborg (Denmark) 1
Sunday 14th August
Cardiff Devils 1 Medvescak Zagreb (Croatia) 4
Sheffield Steelers 5 Aalborg (Denmark) 1
Thursday 18th August
Champions Hockey League
HV71 Jonkoping (Sweden) 5 Sheffield Steelers 3
Saturday 20th August
Belfast Giants 3 Fischtown Pinguins (Germany) 4
Cardiff Devils 3 HC Banska Bystrica (Slovakia) 2
Nottingham Panthers 2 Braehead Clan 5
Champions Hockey League
Red Bull Salzburg (Austria) 8 Sheffield Steelers 1
Wednesday 24th August
Coventry Blaze v Nottingham Panthers – 7.30pm
Friday 26th August
Kassel Huskies (Germany) v Nottingham Panthers – 9.00pm
Saturday 27th August
Amiens (France) v Nottingham Panthers – 8.30pm
Belfast Giants v Braehead Clan – 7.00pm
Cardiff Devils v Tilburg Trappers (Netherlands) – 7.00pm
Fife Flyers v EC Peiting (Germany) – 7.15pm
Champions Hockey League
Sheffield Steelers v HV71 Jonkoping (Sweden) – 7.00pm
Sunday 28th August
Braehead Clan v Belfast Giants – 6.00pm
Coventry Blaze v Tilburg Trappers – 5.15pm
Fife Flyers v EC Peiting (Germany) – 6.30pm
UQTR (Canada) v Nottingham Panthers – 3-30pm
Monday 29th August
Coventry Blaze v Cardiff Devils – 4.00pm
Wednesday 31st August
Manchester Storm v Coventry Blaze – 7.00pm
Thursday 1st September
Dundee Stars v Braehead Clan – 7.30pm
Saturday 3rd September
Cardiff Devils v Coventry Blaze – 7.00pm
Dundee Stars v Edinburgh Capitals – 7.00pm
Manchester Storm v Sheffield – 7.00pm
Sunday 4th September
Edinburgh Capitals v Dundee Stars – 6.00pm
Wednesday 7th September
Coventry Blaze v Manchester Storm – 7.30pm