ANDRE Payette isn’t one for criticising his team when they lose to the best side in the English Premier League.
Sheffield Steeldogs went down 4-1 last Saturday at big-spending Guildford Flames.
They returned to iceSheffield 24 hours later to down Slough Jets 5-3 and are now equal on points with them in third spot.
Payette said: “I was pleased with the results even though we lost on Saturday. It was to the best team in the league. We were only 2-1 down with 15 minutes left and can take comfort in the fact that we were neck and neck for most of the game in their building.
“On Tuesday March 13, with our home ice advantage and our home crowd supporting our Sheffield guys in the cup final against the Flames, we are going to be really hard to beat.”
Payette said his troops “competed really hard” against Slough.
“We were throwing everything we had at their net. Finally we managed to break the seal and put five past them,” he said. “Time and time again, our conditioning and closeness as a team comes into play - strong third periods are becoming a habit.
“It’s going to be a great end to the season and I am really looking forward to the final stretch.”
Steeldogs went behind to a Slough goal from ex-Steeler Doug Sheppard at 4:44 and it wasn’t until 42:58 that Pavel Gomeniuk equalised.
Slough re-took the lead at 43:58 but Raivis Kurnigins evened up the scoreline again with a re-directed shot from Gomenuik at 45:59.
Steeldogs took the lead for the first time as Edgars Bebris scoredat 50:09
Then it was Ashley Calvert’s turn. He gave Steeldogs a two-goal cushion only for Jets to raise the tension for the final minutes as they grabbed a third.
Ozolins made sure with an empty-netter.
Steeldogs take on Basingstoke Bison tomorrow (Wednesday, February 29) at the earlier time of 7pm at iceSheffield. This is a must-win match as it represents Steeldogs’ game in hand over Slough Jets and a win would put them in sole third place in the League.