Coach's tinkering helped Sheffield Steelers close gap on Belfast Giants
Mathieu Roy's return to goalscoring form has come just at the right time for Sheffield Steelers.
His two, albeit against Milton Keynes’ second string goalie on Sunday, reinforced a win that ensured Steelers kept in joint third place with Cardiff Devils and Manchester Storm.
Devils beat Dundee Stars 3-2 and Storm won at Coventry Blaze 4-2, so anything other than two points would have been a major set-back.
Interestingly, second-place Belfast Giants lost 5-3 to Guildford Flames, so Sheffield closed the gap on them to two points with a game in hand.
If Paul Thompson’s men win at Braehead Clan on Friday, they will have caught the Irish up.
Central to all Steelers’ offensive plans is Roy, who until Sunday had scored just once in 11 games. He put in a 2+1 performance against MKL in the 6-1 win - the first time he’d scored a brace since the first domestic game of the season, against Manchester in September.
His positioning on the Power Play had been altered after some brainstorming, following Steelers 4-1 defeat last Saturday at Nottingham Panthers.
The coach had felt Roy and others had been “nervous” and possibly even afraid to shoot because of the pressures of failing to convert earlier chances.
He moved into a shooting lane, rather than his normal goal-hanging looking-for-scraps routine.