Steelers’ camp has undergone four days of soul-searching after losing the Challenge Cup final.
Being defeated for the seventh time this season by Cardiff Devils - who are also 10 points clear of them at the top of the Elite League, was a bitter pill to swallow.
But coach Paul Thompson was never going shirk his responsibilities and carried out a thorough review of his team’s standing.
“It always hurts more if you lose in is a Final” he said. “I was dying to get back to work, I wanted to talk to my players. I wanted to face the situation straight on and then move on. We were beaten by a better team on the night and I wanted to discuss what we were going to do to close that gap.
“We have to look at ourselves, be honest and concentrate on catching them.
“Right now they are the best team in the league and we cannot sit about, we have to face facts if we are to have any success.”
Steelers only managed five shots in two periods of the game in Wales. “We had six players who might not have played if it had been anything other than final. We are seriously banged up. We battled at Cardiff but have to accept we didn’t have their quality” said the coach.
“The lack of shots was due to a bit of everything, but two things stand out: One: Cardiff’s GM said it had been the best game he’d seen them play since he got there. They had a heavy forecheck and were faster and better than us.
Two: We don’t use injuries as an excuse but they were a factor. We had players playing at 50%. We have limited teams to five shots in two periods ourselves. It happens. But the paramount thing is to get healthy and to play with speed and confidence.”
Steelers are at Braehead on Saturday before hosting Devils on Sunday. “We will show them respect but we do not fear them or any other team. We need to send a signal out and want some pay-back for our fans. Cardiff will have to be at their best to beat us again.