A bold decision by Paul Thompson triggered Sheffield Steelers’ big win at Belfast Giants - and sent out a signal to his skating squad.
After losing at the SSE Arena on Saturday, the coach switched three centremen, promoting Markus Nilsson from the fourth line to play alongside Mathieu Roy and Colton Fretter.
John Armstrong found himself on the third line with Guillaume Desbiens and Mike Ratchuk and Yared Hagos paired up with Luke Ferrara and Jonathan Phillips.
“We weren’t scoring enough goals five-on-five and I felt it was time to shake things up” said Thompson after Armstrong and Hagos were among the marksmen in the 4-1 win.
“We had a team meeting before leaving our hotel and showed them what we need to achieve a positive outcome.
“It’s not a democracy but I have to say there was no negativity and everybody was very focused.
“Nilsson was rewarded for his form: he has done better than anybody with assists recently, but his attitude is always first class. His speed and puck skills are excellent” said Thompson.
“Armstrong responded to playing with fresh linemates by scoring. The fourth line had their best game for many weeks with Yared as centre.
“You cannot have any complacency at this club and when you make changes you have to stand by your decisions.
“The changes worked and we got the balance right. Now we look forward to hosting Edinburgh Capitals on Wednesday in one of our games in hand on the leaders.”
* Steeler Liam Kirk has been namded in the Great Britain Under-18s squad for April’s IIHF World Championship tournament in south Korea.
The six-team U18 tournament will involve GB and Korea, along with Croatia, Estonia, Lithuania and Romania from 1st to 8th April 2017.
Ethan James - Essa Stallions, Canada
Angus Laing - Sheffield Academy
Lewis Davies - Cardiff Junior Devils
Lewis Baldwin - Manchester Phoenix
Ed Bradley - White Midgets, CIHA
Cameron Pound - Cornwall Colts, CIHA
Liam Redwood - Nottingham Lions
Sam Russell - OHA, Canada
Ben Solder - OHA, Canada
Darren Stattersfield - Solway Sharks
Adam Barnes - OHA, Canada
Jordan Buesa - Braehead Clan
Tyler Cooper - Shattuck St Mary’s, USA
Rio Grinell-Parke - Bracknell Bees
Harry Gulliver - Ogden Mustangs, USA
James Hounsome - Everest Academy, Canada
Mac Howlett - Saipa, Finland
Jordan Kelsall - Okanagan UK
Liam Kirk - Sheffield Steelers
Richard Krogh - HC Lugano, Switzerland
Chad Smith - Fife
Finlay Ulrick - Northwood School, USA
Josh Waller - IHC Pisek, Czech
Louis Colvin - OHA, Canada
Harry Ferguson - Edinburgh Capitals
Joe Hazeldine - Nottingham
Luke Jackson - OHA, Canada
Will Kerlin - OHA, Canada
Morgan Pizzo-Clarke - OHA, Canada
Caly Robertson - Fife
Aidan Strangeway - Notre Dame, Canada
Peter Toth - OHA, Canada
Kyle Watson - Mid-Fairfield Rangers, USA