Injury-hit Sheffield Steelers smashed 8-2 at Coventry Blaze

Zack Fitzgerald in combat after the late hit: Pic Hayley Roberts
Zack Fitzgerald in combat after the late hit: Pic Hayley Roberts
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Best laid plans often go awry.

And Steelers’ carefully engineered pre-season programme has handed them an unwanted string of injuries - and a thoroughly bruising loss, on Sunday.

Ex-Steeler Luke Ferrara nabbed a hat-trick as Blaze banged eight past back-up goalie Brad Day.

On Saturday, Zack Fitzgerald suffered a leg injury after a late hit sent him falling into the rim of the net, during the 2-1 victory over Coventry. He, Colton Fretter (upper body) and Mathieu Roy (multiple issues) all missed Sunday’s horror show at the Skydome.

Fitzgerald could be a few weeks away from returning and the club will likely to check if any concussion-type injuries to Fretter will linger.

Coventry, who scored with two minutes left of Saturday’s match, continued on the front-foot with a second-minute goal from Ferrara.

The pipework rang again from American Ryan Dingle’s shot - but this time the puck bounced clear.

Ferrara - who is motivated to do well at Coventry to prove Steelers wrong - collected his second at 13;31.

Sheffield got their nose back in it with the help of a slice of luck, Mark Matheson’s drive ricocheted off Brett Robinson’s stick into his own goal.

There had been bad blood spilled on Saturday and it returned in this confrontation, after a hit on Levi Nelson by Vojtech Kloz. Shortly after Brady Ramsay dropped the gloves to challenge 6’3” Kloz.

Colton Fretter after being sent into the boards. Pic: Dean Woolley

Colton Fretter after being sent into the boards. Pic: Dean Woolley

When the penalties were dished out Sheffield came off worst and on the Power Play Ferrara scored his hat-trick, on the half hour mark.

A dispirited Steelers conceded another two minutes later from Jordan Pietrus for 1-4 - then the floodgates opened with two more, from Gaelen Patterson and Ross Venus - four goals in just over three minutes.

Tim Wallace offered some respite with a Steeler goal at 34;10 - but Blaze continued to taunt Steelers with their firepower, ex Sheffield Steeldog Edgars Bebris added a seventh at 42;12 and Robinson an extra at 57;38.

Now Steelers have to regroup before next week’s Challenge Cup action starts - although another injury, this time to Levi Nelson, has not helped.

RESULTS

Sunday 3rd September

Challenge Cup Group A

Manchester Storm 4 Braehead Clan 1

Exhibition Games

Coventry Blaze 8 Sheffield Steelers 2

Edinburgh Capitals 3 Dundee Stars 2 (Shootout)

Fife Flyers 1 Herlev Eagles (Denmark) 4

Guildford Flames 1 Milton Keynes Lightning 3

Champions Hockey League

Cardiff Devils 4 HC Davos (Switzerland) 3

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