Steelers’ coach Paul Thompson has refused to take credit for the team tinkering that delivered the memorable 8-1 tonking of Cardiff Devils.
Sheffield’s fast-moving, slick offence clicked in place in a mauling of a team which had beaten them in Wales only the week before.
And the squad boss engineered it by separating an established import pairing - Mathieu Roy and Colton Fretter - something he doesn’t do at the drop of a hat.
Thompson had experimented with different centremen with the duo, who played such a significant part in last season’s league title win, but then decided to place them on different lines.
He explained: “As I said to the pair of them, you are both great players. You make people around you better. It is not about me finding somebody to play with you, you make others better.
“The cream always rises to the top. Roy got a five-point night [on Sunday] and a hat-trick and that’s a terrific come-back. Fretter was fabulous at Cardiff, [last Saturday’s 4-0 away victory.]
“Fretter is a quality player, he is playing with a smile on his face. When you get that, you get the rewards.
“But I think the team as a whole was excellent in every area of the ice, on Sunday. We competed and I am very happy.”
The new look line-ups put ace sniper Roy with Jeff Legue and Rob Dowd, while the gritty, uncompromising Fretter is playing alongside Levi Nelson and Fredrik Vestberg.
With the third unit of Mike Duco, Tyler Moskienko and Jonathan Phillips bang in form, that gives Thompson a varied and productive forward group, which can be rested mid-game when Jason Hewitt and Luke Ferrara ice as a fourth unit.
“After Sunday’s [Challenge Cup] game, I addressed the group in the dressing room and told them to enjoy it - there will be some dark times ahead,” he said.
“At the end of a day we dismantled a winning team.”