‘Sheffield Steelers players were to blame against Belfast Giants - not the system’

Steelers coach Paul Thompson says his players were to blame - not any system changes - for defeat to title-competitors Belfast Giants.

Sheffield’s team boss made a number of positional alterations before Saturday’s game which ended in a 5-2 loss. He went back to the normal lines for Sunday’s game, a 5-4 defeat.

“The line changes weren’t the reason we lost. It is the fact we gave the puck away” he insisted. “We lost (Sunday) with the same lines we’ve had the last two or three months.

“In this game, a lot of people judge you. I am the person here, I am the person who makes the decisions. I know what I am doing, my staff know what I am doing. My players know what I am doing. When it doesn’t go right, everybody wants to point the finger.. We weren’t good enough. Simple - whatever the lines were.”

Thompson was critical of his special teams - the power play was ineffective and “our penalty killing hasn’t been great all year - it was shocking this weekend.

“The way we give the puck away and gave them the opportunities to win the game...shocking.

Sheffield Steelers v Belfast Giants'Steelers Levi Nelson reaches out for the puck

Sheffield Steelers v Belfast Giants'Steelers Levi Nelson reaches out for the puck

“If we go down a goal we have to stay with our process and go again.”

He said some players were playing “one-on-one hockey” which was never going to work against such a well-drilled Giants side.

“Belfast are a very good team but we gave them opportunities to beat us and they took it.

“You can’t do that, you have to manage the puck and be more accountable.”

Thompson said his side had to respond with a victory on Saturday against Dundee Stars.

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