Why Sheffield Steelers' coach Tom Barrasso is 'alarmed'

Tom Barrrasso has worked round-the-clock for 86 days to try and eradicate some of Sheffield Steelers' bad habits.

Monday, 7th January 2019, 07:02 am
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 12:35 pm
Belfast Giants' Jonathan Ferland with Sheffield Steelers' Matt Climie during Sunday afternoons Elite Ice Hockey League game at the SSE Arena, Belfast. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye

And it disturbs him that, with the players at his disposal, bigger in-roads have not been made into continuing problem areas .

Defensively, he feels the team is still vulnerable as a five-man unit - and the stats confirm that's the case particularly against teams above them in the Elite League, with the exception of Nottingham Panthers.

Last weekend, Sheffield secured an overtime point but lost twice at second place Belfast Giants.

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That meant they have a W1 L3 record against the Northern Irish so far. The record against the others above them is: Cardiff Devils: W0 L2, Nottingham W4 L1, Fife Flyers W2 L2, Glasgow Clan W1 L3 and Guildford Flames W1 L4 Drawn 1 (includes Challenge Cup.)

Barrasso was left with much to ponder over after their latest road trip disappointment - in fact, they have lost five out of their last six away from Sheffield Arena.

All the teams above them in the EIHL have conceded fewer, too.

"It was a frustrating weekend" the coach acknowledged.

"We played well enough at times, but against the best in the league, there needs to be more.

"I am alarmed at the rate pucks are going into our net" he continued. "It is not realistic to believe you can win giving up as many goals as we are.

"Our team defence is an urgent priority."

*Steeler prospects Kieran Brown, 17, and Jordan Griffin - who turns 17 on January 29 -  have been selected for this year's U18 World Championship Division I Group B team to play in Székesfehérvár, central Hungary. GB take on Austria, Italy, Japan, Hungary and Slovenia following their promotion from Division II last season.

The IIHF tournament takes runs from 14th to 20th April 2019.

The youngsters were not in this weekend's Steeler squad.

Steelers are back in action on Saturday, at home to Dundee Stars.