Ice Hockey Report: Sheffield Steelers 8 Fife Flyers 1
Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Belfast Giants increased the volume from some fans.
Whether you agree with the “Paul Thompson out” brigade or not - and for the record, I don’t - the loss in Northern Ireland did underline the difficulties Sheffield have endured against teams above them.
So Sunday, against another such team, Fife Flyers, was another marker to judge the present regime by.
Sheffield annihilated Fife 8-1 and the “Thommo out” cheerleaders were less audible.
Thompson isn’t popular with everyone, but his 63% win record going into the weekend is ahead of Mike Blaisdell and Dave Matsos. Personal, historic statistics, though, come second to current team-delivery.
And the first period went well, with Fife struggling with six men out, going behind in 42 seconds, Matt Marquardt bending the puck around his marker Russ Moyer.
Flyers goalie Andy Iles went off, another injury victim, and then 10 minutes later his replacement Jordan Marr was also beaten.
Rule number one when you are playing Steelers is don’t let Ben O’Connor shoot - Fife did and paid the penalty. While Sheffield couldn’t benefit from a 5-on-3 Power Play, they bagged a third when Colton Fretter eased around a passive Jim Jorgensen to slot home.
Marr, a 26-year-old Scot, was hung out to dry in the second period.
Miika Franssila wriggled around the net and then back-handed across him, and Andreas Valdix, centring the top line, set up another back-handed goal for Mathieu Roy.
Fife failed on a power play and then left Liam Kirk arrowed in and beat Marr low to his near post.
At 36;16 it was 7-0, Fretter, scoring short handed.
The final session was simply a matter of playing out the game. Brad Day took over in the home goal, conceding from James Isaacs in 55 seconds. Then Tim Wallace scored his first in 11 games to re-establish the seven goal advantage.