Sheffield Steelers 0-2 Belfast Giants - coach goes ballistic

Ervins Mustukovs under pressure at Belfast. Pic: Press Eye - Belfast
Ervins Mustukovs under pressure at Belfast. Pic: Press Eye - Belfast
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Coach Paul Thompson was sent off to the stands as his team lost for the second time at the weekend.

The team boss, frustrated by his side’s lack of offensive precision, poor ice and highly-dubious refereeing exploded at 53;22 in a 0-2 League shut out at the Arena.

Levi Nelson scores at Belfast Giants.    Photo by William Cherry/Presseye

Levi Nelson scores at Belfast Giants. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye

He’d seen Colton Fretter thrown out the game for slashing and his heated protests earned him an exclusion from the bench.

Steelers had seen for themselves the importance of a good start the night before in Belfast, when all the game’s goals were scored in the first 11 minutes, Giants holding on to a 3-1 victory.

And in Sheffield, quality chances were few and far between.

Matt Marquardt’s second touch of the puck produced a shot across Stephen Murphy’s goal and a Jonathan Phillips’ short-handed breakaway could have brought the desired effect. Andreas Valdix, yet to score in League play, was unable to polish off the best early chance.

Fretter was hurt by a check to the head which earned Cole Jarrett a 2+10 penalty.

A rash of Power Play opportunities came and went - the only shot of any real consequence coming from the visitors, when Colin Shields back-handed a puck in the air past Ervins Mustukovs at 27;43, unassisted.

Steelers felt Shield’s stick was too high for it to be a legal shot, but ref Stefan Hogarth decided otherwise.

Adam Keefe’s men were forechecking brilliantly. They were tough with any players approaching the net and suffocating in the neutral zone.

Steelers were imprecise when they did get a sight of Murphy’s net, Juha Koivisto blazing one decent opportunity over the bar.

They were none for six in power plays at the end of a disappointing second session.

Giants didn’t exactly ‘park the bus’ in the final session, but they produced an almost perfect road game nullifying Steelers’ lines and slowing the game down.

Sheffield had the indignity of Darcy Murphy scoring an empty netter with four seconds left.

A bad night for Steelers - and there may be repercussion for Thompson who made his opinions known to the officials again, after the game.