A single game weekend should have given Sheffield Steeldogs a good chance of success but losing several players late on left them short benched and out of their depth against a talented Milton Keynes Lightning side, who triumphed 8-3 at iceSheffield.
Steeldogs started Sunday’s game without Heywood and Brownley (both injured), Smith and Hadfield (both ill), Liam Charnock (in Kazakhstan playing for GB Universities) and Coach Greg Wood who was non-player coach due to an ongoing injury.
Brandon Stones got the start in goal and made some solid early stops as both teams made a good start to the game. The early signs suggested an even contest but things went downhill quickly in three disastrous minutes; James Griffin beat Stones from the blue line at 7:05, Adam Carr buried a beautiful pass from Baranyk before Frantisek Bakrlik made it 3-0 at 10:04.
Bakrlik added another before the end of the first period and then Antti Holli bagged a pair early in the second to kill off the game.
Stanislav Lascek broke the shut out with a power play goal but the Lightning still entered the final period leading 8-1.
The final session belatedly showed what could have been; Stones turned away all 21 shots he faced and a short-handed goal from Lascek and a power play rocket from Bosas brought a little respectability to the final score.
Greg Wood was honest speaking after the game; “The game was done in the first period. There's not much to take from it; we were heavily short but we were second best throughout the game. We played with a lack of intensity, a lack of energy. That’s unusual for us, we normally have a little jump in our step. We were missing key guys but that's not an excuse for us to lie down like we did tonight. The only positive is that we won the third period. We got the play ticking there at the end.
“The first four goals came from similar things so I know where we need to work in training this week. To have any success we need guys back in the line-up. Charnock is back so this will bring us a lot more energy. Heywood should be back, along with Cam Brownley who gives us a little more depth in the line up and a stronger third line. That depth is crucial to competing, so hopefully we’ll be in a better place by next weekend”.
Steeldogs have two home games this coming weekend – the Peterborough Phantoms visit on Saturday before Sunday’s game with a Teddy Bear Toss in support of the Sheffield Children’s Hospital against the Guildford Flames.