Sheffield Steelers 0 Belfast Giants 2: Coach Paul Thompson was sent off to cap miserable weekend for Steelers
Coach Paul Thompson was sent off to the stands as his team lost for the second time at the weekend.
The team boss, frustrated by his side’s lack of offensive precision, poor ice and mixed refereeing exploded at 53;22 in a 0-2 League shut out at the Arena.
He’d seen Colton Fretter thrown out the game for slashing and his “abusive” protests earned him an exclusion from the bench.
Steelers had seen for themselves the importance of a good start the night before in Belfast, when all the game’s goals were scored inside the first 11 minutes, Giants holding on to a 3-1 victory, outshooting Sheffield and shutting down their danger-men.
And in Sheffield, quality chances were few and far between.
Matt Marquardt’s second touch of the puck produced a shot across Stephen Murphy’s goal and a Jonathan Phillips’ short-handed breakaway could have brought the desired effect.
Andreas Valdix, yet to score in League play, was unable to polish off the best early chance.
Steelers, who had lost Zack Fitzgerald to a fresh injury, had Fretter hurt by a check to the head which earned Cole Jarrett a 2+10 penalty.
A rash of Power Play opportunities came and went for the Arena side - the only shot of any real consequence coming from the visitors, when Colin Shields back-handed a puck in the air past Ervins Mustukovs at 27;43, unassisted.
Steelers felt Shield’s stick was too high for it to be a legal shot, but ref Stefan Hogarth decided otherwise.
Adam Keefe’s men were forechecking brilliantly both short-handed and in normal play.
They were tough with any players approaching the net and suffocating in the neutral zone.
Steelers were imprecise when they did get a sight of Murphy’s net, Juha Koivisto blazing one decent opportunity over the bar.
Thompson’s men were none for six in power plays at the end of a disappointing second session.
Giants didn’t exactly ‘park the bus’ in the final session, but they produced an almost perfect road game nullifying Steelers’ lines and slowing the game down.
Sheffield were their own worse enemy at times, losing possession and interruptiung their own momentum.
And they had the indignity of Darcy Murphy scoring an empty netter with four seconds left.
A bad weekend for Steelers - and there may be repercussion for Thompson who made his opinions known to the officials again, after the game.