Not so much a group of death: more of premeditated murder.
Sheffield Steelers were unwilling lambs to the Champions League slaughter last night as they crashed 9-1 at Frolunda Gothenburg,
Nobody should be surprised. Frolunda have been training since July, the new-look Steelers have been together a week and a half. The difference in wage bills in football terms is Chelsea versus Chester.
So anything out than a rout would have been amazing. And amazing wasn’t anything Steelers could drum up in the Frölundaborgs Isstadion. They paid for indiscipline, particularly in a lethal last session. That was down to fatigue and wrong decisions, coach Paul Thompson said.
The game started with steely Sheffield defending as Zack Fitzgerald stopped Andreas Johnson with the goal at his mercy. Then Rod Sarich emerged from the sin bin but failed to convert a one-on-one. Steelers created scoring chances, but Lars Johansson protected his net and the home side grew in stature. They went ahead with Fitzgerald in the box; Henrick Tommernes, a player Steelers had recognised as a powerplay threat, scoring at 18:40.
You had to hand it to Sheffield - the opening period had seen them hold their own for most of the time.
An unlucky moment doubled the Steelers disadvantage at 25;19, Jace Coyle scoring an ‘own goal’ - the self-destruct button pressed on a power play. The strike was awarded to Mats Rosseli Olsen.
Holding a dominating home side two goals was no mean achievement when the second hooter went. But it all went disastrously wrong in a 1-7 final period.
Two Swedish goals in 46 seconds set the tone, Artturi Lehkonen and Tommernes netting. Forty three seconds later it was 0-5 Patrik Karlsson getting on the sheet. More followed from Robin Figren and Johan Sundsrtom. Five goals in five minutes 53 seconds.
Steeler Colton Fretter notched a penalty shot goal reply but Tommernes grabbed his hat-trick.
Sheffield were now on their knees and number nine was another cruel cut, from Sebastian Stalberg.
Thursday 20th August
Champions Hockey League
Vaxjo Lakers (Sweden) 10 Braehead Clan 2
Frolunda Gothenburg (Sweden) 9 Sheffield Steelers 1