Sheffield Steelers defence is not hungry enough

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It’s back to the drawing board for Sheffield Steelers’ coaching staff this week.

Coach Paul Thompson and his assistant Jerry Andersson had drilled into the team the importance of defensive solidity last week only to see their team concede nine goals in back-to-back defeats.

This week they will reiterate the need to stop ‘gifting’ goals by leaving danger men unmarked in and around the slot.

Defensively, Steelers looked soft and disorganised on Sunday against Cardiff Devils.

“We are not making excuses, we have to be a lot better in our own end. A lot tighter” said Thompson.

“We lost the battles in our own end. They were more hungry down low than we were. We got away from our system and that’s what happens when you don’t stick to it. We have our own system in our defensive zone and that was non-existent.

How not to defend: Layne Ulmer swoops, unmarked, in Steelers' slot.  Picture: Dean Woolley.

How not to defend: Layne Ulmer swoops, unmarked, in Steelers' slot. Picture: Dean Woolley.

“We are getting a little bit annoyed with the style of goals that were are leaking, we need to be more competitive defensively.”

The coach said he and the team were “going to have a good long look” at the issues, although he pointed out they had done exactly that the previous week.

Thompson, and the 5,461 Arena crowd, had been particularly displeased by the 0-3 middle period against the Welsh.“It was terrible” he said.

That was down to: “A lack of focus, chasing, being on the wrong side of the puck. We worked extremely hard when we have the puck. And we didn’t work hard enough when we didn’t have it.

“As soon as Cardiff scored, (their second goal) I saw us dip, I felt us dip. We’ve got to get back to being solid, it reminds me of last year, exactly the same way, We can’t be gifting the kid of goals we are gifting now.

“We are gifting the goals. When you can stand on your own in the slot time and time again and tap a puck in because we are not picking up guys it is pretty easy to score against us. So we have got to put that right.

“Our attitude in our own end of being smart and being solid and tight...that isn’t there at the moment.”

Offensively, Steelers have scored three goals in the last two games, but more pucks should have found their way in, said Thompson.

“We have four unbelievable scoring chances in that second period.

“We didn’t bury any of them. I give Cardiff credit, they were better than us. They played the perfect road game.”

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