GOALIE John DeCaro may have conceded eight goals and been dragged off 44 minutes into his last game – but he is the man Sheffield Steelers will depend on next weekend.
DeCaro was pulled by coach Ryan Finnerty after Fife Flyers scored their fifth goal of the night last Sunday, adding to the three they’d put behind him at Sheffield Arena the previous night.
It wasn’t the former AHL netminder’s finest hour – but his stock remains high with Finnerty.
“Johnny would be the first to admit Sudnay wasn’t his best night, but everybody lost the plot in the second period in Scotland.
“He had taken a puck in the neck earlier and although he’d tried to fight it [the pain] off I thought it would be better to get him out of there,” said the coach.
“There was no disrespect to Johnny in that, he has been there for us all season. And while he might think he was not his normal self, you won’t see anybody on the team pointing a finger at him. We are behind DeCaro all the way.”
The 6ft 3ins American was replaced by home-grown Geoff Woolhouse, who went on to make half a dozen important saves for Sheffield.
But Decaro will back between the pipes for Friday’s must-win Challenge Cup qualifier at Cardiff Devils.
Cardiff have won their last three matches and were 5-3 victors at Hull Stingrays on Sunday.
“This is a match where we will not be allowed any slip-ups” said Finnerty.
Sheffield need to win to get through to the semi-finals as they are on the same points total in the qualifying group as Devils, but have an inferior goal difference.