SIX years have passed since John DeCaro celebrated a double-shut out.
Sheffield Steelers’ American netminder recorded back-to-back clean sheets last weekend for the first time since he was a relative rookie in Louisiana, playing for
“Yes, it has been a while” he said. “I think I went 220 straight (minutes) at Shreveport. It doesn’t happen very often, but I’ll take it.
“I had a couple of games recently against Belfast Giants and Hull Stingrays (January 5 and 6) when I should have had two shut outs.
“But last weekend was good for us and we hope to take that into next weekend.”
Steelers have been defensively rock-solid recently in front of DeCaro’s crease.
“Since Christmas, we are finally come to terms with how we should play and everybody is comfortable with the style” he said.
“We have been playing good for last three or four weeks.”
But is this form coming to late to stop Sheffield preventing Nottingham Panthers win the Elite League?
“That could happen. But I think we are the best team in the league whether we win it or not.”
DeCaro said that import players and observers from the other side of Atlantic still could not fathom out why the League is considered more important than the Play Offs.
The way British hockey was configured was more like “a soccer thing not a north American hockey thing” he said. “Everybody at home thinks its crazy how it’s done here - the emphasis (there) is on Play Offs, not winning the League - it’s hard for some guys to get their head around.”
With 10 games remaining, Steelers don’t have much time to get their head around it.
Ryan Finnerty’s have gone into second place, a point ahead of Belfast Giants, who have a game in hand. The Irish play at Dundee on Thursday.
Sheffield are three points adrift of leaders Nottingham, whom they play on Friday night. Panthers also have a game in hand.
Asked if this was a game Sheffield could afford to lose, he replied: “No, I don’t think we can, but then again we cannot win every game. “If we lose we lose, but we will do everything we can to win.”