NEW YEAR’S Day sees a battle of two ice hockey teams low on confidence and looking to find some inspiration to take them into 2012.
Coventry Blaze, who are suffering severe financial issues, lost 3-2 at Hull Stingrays on Wednesday - it was only the eighth win of 29 games for the East Yorkshire side.
Steelers have lost two games to Nottingham Panthers, don’t have a completely settled side, can be defensively suspect, and are missing season-out injury victim Rod Sarich’s experience and creative influence.
Coach Ryan Finnerty is demanding 100 per cent commitment and a more steely attitude for the visit of Paul Thompson’s side, who in fairness, had been on a seven straight league win run before losing on the Humber.
Finnerty will look specifically at his leaky defence for improvements, they have conceded 19 goals in four games.
New import Francis Trudel, who appeared to be benched in the last period of the 5-1 disaster at Nottingham on Tuesday, says that every player on the side has a responsibility to shield goaltender John DeCaro.
“We have to try and pay the price, block more shots, try and help him a little bit more,” he said.
“If everybody tries to concentrate on blocking shots and stuff like that, it will be better. We have to win if going to win championships.
“Everybody has to try a bit more so we don’t have rebounds and things like that to deal with.”
Trudel admits the side has some making up to do to the home crowd after the Arena defeat on Boxing Day.
“We want to win especially at home and hopefully the fans will forget that. We wanted (to win) that one but have to look forward now.”
Team-mate Luke Fulghum agreed.
Referring to the 7,500 crowd of Boxing Day, Fulghum commented: “We didn’t mean to let them down, we try to win every night but you cannot always get a win. It’s just the way hockey is. You have got to let it go. I’m sure they will forgive us.”