Payette plans for new season as Steeldogs go out

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Steeldogs went out in the Play-off quarter-finals to League champions Manchester Phoenix, losing 10-4 on aggregate (6-2 at home and 4-2 away).

Steeldogs were up to full strength as three injured players returned to the ice after several weeks on the sidelines. However this was not enough to stop a determined Tony Hand and Phoenix from driving the net on both days. On Sunday, in front of the biggest crowd of the season, the game kicked off with an altercation between Andre Payette and Andrew Sharp, bringing the crowd to their feet. Manchester took the lead at 3.06 while both players sat their penalties and Steeldogs were additionally shorthanded. Both teams scored again in the first for a 1-2 end of 1st period score.

Phoenix picked up the pace in the second, with netminder Ben Bowns facing 22 shots to 4 on Steve Fone. Three unanswered goals made it a daunting task for Steeldogs.

Manchester took their 6th goal of the night in the third period and Sheffield could only manage a single goa for a final score of 2-6.

Steeldogs put pressure on early in the second leg but goals in the 13th and 14th minutes gave Phoenix the momentum. A 0-0 second period was followed by a 2-2 third as Steeldogs finally managed to outshoot Phoenix.

Coach Payette said: “I was disappointed at the result but it was an uphill task for this young team against the higher budget opposition with very experienced players. We did well to reach the Play-offs so that can be counted as a success. I aim to build a more competitive team with the aim of moving further up the League table next season.”