Darrell Hay believes Sheffield Steelers’ players have become less selfish and have bought more into the team-ethic during their recent run of good form.
Sheffield have won six out of their last seven and are playing much more as a team particularly in protecting their own net.
Recent wins have taken Steelers to third in the table, four points behind the leaders with a game in hand. And asst coach Hay says a change in focus has played a major role in preventing goals against - they have conceded only one in each of their last four games.
Hay explained: “We have gone back to commitment to defence. We have been protecting our net and I don’t think we have been giving up the quality chances that we did there for that little spell in October and parts of November.
“We have gone back to Steelerhockey, we have been playing very selfless, working for the guy beside you, instead of trying to do things on our own. I think you are seeing the benefits of it.
“Paul (Thompson, head coach) and I have been really hard on our group to play that way, keep a third guy high, if we get on trouble put pucks deep, take our chances when we can go on the offence and really commit to playing defensive.
“We have got some good goaltending from Pincy, (Marek Pinc) he stood tall in the last four games; I thought he played well in the game we lost in Coventry. But we have a stronger dedication to our end. We have blocked more shots, been in more lanes, we’ve been more physical and been able to outwork teams in crucial defensive areas.”
Hay says every member of the squad has to be 100% committed if they are going to deliver consistent results.
“It comes down to grit and battle level, it comes down to how bad do you want it? We wanted it more than we did last month when we were taking short-cuts instead of getting in there with our body and getting our noses dirty. We were fishing for pucks; we had long arms and long sticks and trying to take the easy ways. Now we are engaged more, nose-to-nose more in battles and doing it as a group, it is not just one guy it is all 18 guys out there.”