Sheffield Steeldogs pickup a win after axing top import
Sheffield Steeldogs - who have sacked top scorer Pavel MrÅˆa - split the weekend with a 4-0 win over Bracknell Bees and a 6-3 reverse atÂ Peterborough Phantoms.
Dogs got rid of the 28 year old because he was picking up too many suspensions, four so far.
It didn't get in the way of Steeldogs recording their first win since December 17.
Coach Greg Wood said: "The decision to release Pav is not a decision we have taken lightly. When on top form and free from suspension he is one of the leagues leading players and has scored some highlight reel goals along the way. Unfortunately, we as a club need our key players available and his disciplinary record goes before him.
I am already working hard to find a replacement that will give us an added edge that we have been missing over the past 5/6 weeks. I know the area I want to strengthen and I will do my upmost to bring in the right guy for our team."
The visit of Bracknell was key as the Bees pose the biggest threat to the Steeldogs making the playoffs - and they had won both previous games at iceSheffield.
It was an eventful game and the visitors could easily have taken an early lead but backup net minder Brandon Stones made some great early saves on his way to a man of the match winning performance.
A great snipe from Arnoldas Bosas got Sheffield going and a controversial goal credited to Liam Charnock put them 2 up inside 9 minutes. Bracknell took the game to Sheffield but a combination of hard work in defence and acrobatics from Stones kept them at bay.
The game still could have gone either way but a goal from the birthday boy late in the second period gave the Dogs some breathing room.
The Bees upped the physical element in the final period and Adrian Palak took a nasty head first knock into the boards - which saw Harvey Stead ejected along with Cam Brownley who dropped the gloves in defence of his colleague.
Macaulay Heywood completed the scoring and the Steeldogs made sure that Stones got a much deserved shut out, turning away 47 shots.
After the game, Brandon Stones said: “I got a call at 3pm to let me know I was playing and I was able to focus from there on. It was quite nerve wracking for me.
“I had a busy first period so got into the game nice and early. The boys around me helped out, as they always do. It was a really good feeling getting in the goal again. The whole game was a huge confidence boost for me and I was really pleased to have got the opportunity, so I grabbed it with both hands.
“The game sheet reports 47 shots but out of those many were coming from angles that were easier to deal with. There were only a few rebounds and I quickly covered them up and the boys were blocking shots for me.
“The whole team performance made me happy - we kept it simple and spent plenty of time in the Bees zone. We kept the puck well too and didn't make the giveaways we've been guilty of at times”.
Sunday night's trip to Peterborough ended in defeat - but for a Sheffield team with only six forwards it was to be expected against a team who had beaten them comprehensively twice last weekend.Despite their limited resources they never quit and Adrian Palak scored a wonder goal to give the travelling support something to cheer late on.
The Steeldogs will look to build on the Bracknell win with players back from suspensions on Sunday (5:30) against Aaron Nell’s Swindon Wildcats.