Video: Sheffield Steelers win falls below coach’s high standards, at end of 2018 programme

Sheffield Steelers concluded 2018 hockey activities on home ice with six goals, a third-straight win and a decent crowd.

But you will struggle to find any coach happy with a 6-4 win or loss - as defensive hockey is what decides most games.

And Sheffield's team boss Tom Barrasso departed from giving his normal post-match summary to his players after their 6-4 win over Manchester Storm - feeling, perhaps, that they could sense his reservations without him having to spell it out to them.

"It's not much fun for a coach watching that, our d-zone coverage was really sloppy, early" he said, keeping his appointment with the press room in the bowels of the Arena. "But you have to give them (Manchester) credit, they put a lot of pucks at the net, they are very good at getting traffic to the net.

"It is a staple of their game if you watch them play at all. We have got to have a lot more respect for that than we did."

Jackson Whistle didn't have his best night in the net and the coach said he "wasn't crazy" about the rebound for one of his early conceded goals, and said the netminder over-anticipated another attempt in the third which led to "a really soft goal at an inopportune time...but he did make some saves for us to keep us ahead."

Ben O'Connor has a word against Manchester Storm

Ben O'Connor has a word against Manchester Storm

So a mixed bag to end the year, but a third consecutive victory, despite absenteeism from the line-up, is welcome.

With Justin Buzzeo, Davey Phillips and Eric Neiley out and Brandon Whistle reporting a seasonal bug, Steelers can still manage to get their offence right, even if defensively they can be suspect.

Manchester were ahead twice, Mike Hammond scoring short handed before Mark Matheson equalised and Ciaran Long put Storm ahead. Aaron Johnson made sure both teams were level at 2-2 at the first break. Robert Dowd's close-range effort was the only one to find a way to the net in the middle section, before a five-goal rush in the final 20 minutes.

Evan McGrath and Luke Moffatt traded goals as did Anthony DeLuca and Rob Linsmayer. A frantic end was calmed by Jonas Westerling's empty netter at 59:07.

Jonas Westerling unhappy after a high stick challenge. Pic by Hayley Roberts

Jonas Westerling unhappy after a high stick challenge. Pic by Hayley Roberts