Paul Thompson’s search for the best way to unleash a more clinical attacking force continues this week.
His side scored two Power Play goals in the 2-4 loss to JYP Jyväskylä in the Champions Hockey League last Sunday, but in three CHL games they have not scored an even-handed goal.
They play Gothenburg this coming weekend, a team that put nine past them in Sweden - so the pursuit of offensive and defensive improvements is critical.
Thompson, who played Frederik Vestberg as centre between Colton Fretter and Mathieu Roy, last weekend, said: “ I am not unhappy with anybody. Our first period performance was outstanding. But it is five-on-five goals we are struggling to score right now, at this level.”
He said his team created three or four good scoring chances against JYP and there were “a lot of good habits happening all over the ice.” But it is clear that he wants to trigger sharper finishing.
“Being the best team for 40 minutes doesn’t mean you come away with the points” he observed.
Asked why fans should want to pay to see Saturday’s ‘dead rubber’ Arena game, against Gothenburg, he replied: “They are going to see one of the best teams in Europe and one of the most committed teams in Great Britain.” Anybody would acknowledge last Sunday’s match was “a great game of hockey he added, “and that is what people want to watch.”
He added that Wednesday’s exhibition match against Manchester Storm was an opportunity to play second-string goalie Brad Day, “in a game situation” and possibly invite a couple of Steeldogs players to ice.
This week will be about “working on every area” of the team’s play, Thompson added.
Meanwhile, Storm have started their pre-season well.
On Sunday they hammered Peterborough Phantoms (EPL) -7-3 away from home, following a win over Nottingham Panthers 5- 4 (Penalty Shootout) the night before.