Misfiring Sheffield Steelers pay the penalty with two defeats

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In over three hours of Elite League hockey at home, Steelers fired 92 shots at net - and scored once.

The engine is misfiring at the Motorpoint Arena.

Danny Bois r Steelers against Belfast Giants. Photo: Dean Woolley.

Danny Bois r Steelers against Belfast Giants. Photo: Dean Woolley.

And, as The Star pointed out recently, if you don’t win your home games you lose fans as well as ground in the standings.

Last night’s loss in Dundee was another blow as Sheffield failed to find the net with three penalty shots, for the second night running.

With gallows humour coach Gerad Adams said the objective next Saturday, for Coventry Blaze’s visit, was simple: “We get a goal - that’s step number one.”

But he resisted any temptation to criticise his fifth-place team after Saturday’s defeat by Belfast.

Adams accepts his team must bury their chances. But he skipped a question on general form, saying: “You look purely at the Belfast game, I thought we played a very good game. We were three imports down and still able to compete and that’s the way we need to play against so-called bigger teams. We are going to have to grind some games out 1-0 or 2-1 . We are not going to be at our best all the time.”

Of the three goalless Saturday periods, the first was electrifying, the second poor and in the third both sides cancelled out each other.

Sheffield had an avalanche of early chances repelled by Carsen Chubak.

Tyler Mosienko, Danny Bois, Michael Forney and Gord Baldwin all directed rubber at him - it was 15-5 to Sheffield on shots in a dominating yet inconclusive first period. Belfast’s big opportunity came when Jeff Mason hit the outside of Frank Doyle’s post.

The same intensity from both sides was missing in the middle 20 although Ben O’Connor was left shaking his head after his one-timer was collected effortlessly by Chubak’s glove.

The goalie also smothered a big shot from Mathieu Roy straight at his chest from behind the net - any rebound could only have gone over his line.

It became an exercise on which team could get the puck out of their zone quickest.

Giants’ centreman Mike Kompon, however, started to assert his influence on proceedings. On 46 minutes he motored across the slot and forced a save. Then it needed a glove catch from Doyle to stop him.

Both sides had golden opportunities to end it - Mosienko and Ray Sawada should have hit the target.

Kompon confidently stroked home his penalty shot after overtime had expired - Forney, Roy and Mosienko all failed there’s.

Last night, Steelers looked to address that scoring issue at Dundee - the team they’d put 11 past in the Cup.

Yet they allowed Igor Gongalsky in after 82 seconds, the Ukranian scoring from Jeff Hutchins.

Steelers repeated the nightmare start to a period at 21;59 when Kevin Quick converted a move featuring Sean Ringrose and Shane Lust.

Adams’ men, without injured Colton Fretter, scored their first goal of the weekend at 30;44, through Jeff Legue .

Could Steelers, having failed in front of thousands at Sheffield Arena, up their game watched by 800 in Scotland?

Mosienko stepped up to the plate to level with two minutes to go. Jonathan Phillips then saw his penalty shot saved and the game went into the shots series for the second time in two nights.

Again no forward could find the net...meaning back-to-back penalty shot losses. It’s back to the drawing board.

RESULTS

Sunday 18th January 2015

Elite League

Coventry Blaze 0 Cardiff Devils 5

Dundee Stars 3 Sheffield Steelers 2 (PS)

Edinburgh Capitals 3 Belfast Giants 6

Hull Stingrays 2 Fife Flyers 3

* Coventry Blaze have signed American defenceman Jim Jorgensen, 29, who played for Sheffield in the 2012-13 season.

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