The iceman thaws – Tom Barrasso reveals he was upset he had to sit out Sheffield Steelers’ player

Ice cold coach Tom Barrasso has admitted he found it emotionally difficult to drop Stefan Della Rovere from the Steelers' team before the biggest game of the season against Nottingham Panthers on Thursday.

Barrasso selected import goalie Matt Climie which meant one overseas player had to sit out - and he picked one of the players he goes back a long way with.

The coach revealed it had been a difficult moment for both of them.

"He was really upset about it. I was upset telling him, in all honesty. He and I go back quite a ways. He was in the first team I was head coach of so I have got a good relationship with him. But I told him I care about him, care about his future, but I need to get more out of him.

"Hopefully he will start to bring it. It was very hard for him. That's not the fun part (of the coaching job.) The fun part is coaching the players, getting them to win, getting them to repeat...showing them that you care about them and hopefully if Delly took anything from the lesson he knows that I have his best interests at heart and I know there is more from him that I can get."

Della Rovere will be back in the line-up for Saturday's game against Manchester Storm.

Happier times for Stefan Della Rovere

Happier times for Stefan Della Rovere

Another forward Josh Pitt sprung back after a poor first period showing in the 5-3 win over Panthers - watched by 9,368 fans - to score the 3-3 equaliser.

Barrasso said: "Josh can be a dominant player in games (but) when he gets going at speed he tends not to see the ice particularly well." When he slows down, he sees it better, he said.

"He turned a puck over it ended up in our net, which was unfortunate - we talked to him about that. He showed great resilience in bouncing back, staying in the game, staying positive and contributing on the offensvie end."

There are continuing injury themes at the club.

Davey Phillips and Eric Neiley remain out for weeks.

And Justin Buzzeo is struggling with a badly bruised thigh.