Sheffield Steelers: Aaron Fox repeats call for better discipline as Steelers' form dips

Sheffield Steelers' repeated lapses in discipline continue to be the unwanted factor that won't go away.

Monday, 11th November 2019, 4:15 pm
Updated Monday, 11th November 2019, 6:54 pm
Brendan Connolly faces off at Manchester

After 24 League and Cup games, Aaron Fox admits that players have still to learn to control themselves at key moments.

And the coach is disturbed by a form turnaround which saw them play well at Cardiff Devils but below par at Manchester Storm, both 3-4 losses.

Last weekend, penalties by Eric Meland and Brendan Connolly proved costly; both led to game-winning goals for Cardiff and then Manchester.

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A zero-point weekend saw Sheffield fall from joint top of the EIHL to joint second. They have played more games than Glasgow Clan and Belfast Giants.

Connolly, in particular, attracts regular penalties late in games.

And coach Aaron Fox knows things must change.

He says Connolly's decision-making can be suspect at "critical times; it ends up costing you."

The forward's "unnecessary" holding the stick call in the 48th minute in Manchester was punished by scorer Adam Hughesman.

But Fox was equally frustrated by no calls made when Robert Dowd and Nikolai Lemtyugov were hauled to the ice as they were about to make an assault on goal.

He accepts "discipline has been something we haven't been great with this year. Something that if we really want to be a contender and push for a league title it is something that we need to nip in the bud and be better."

As for the defeat in Altrincham, Fox said: "These are the types of games we need to find ways to win.

"I know it's never easy going into that place and Sunday was no different.

"We gave up two bad goals in the second.

"The first one bounces off two guys and ends up on their tape in front and second one Mikko Kuukka goes down to block it and deflects it in over Tomas Duba's shoulder.

"We came out flat in the third and gave up two goals in a three-minute stretch."

The coach added: "We had our chances to tie it but it wasn't enough.

"We need to find a way to be more consistent on a nightly basis. We need to reign in our penalties and discipline. Penalties late in the game cost us potential points on both nights.

"It felt like we were a completely different team on Sunday comapred tdo 24 hours earlier and that's not good enough."

On Saturday, Steelers host Coventry Blaze, who pulled off the result of the season so far, on Sunday, with a 9-2 win over league leaders Glasgow Clan, ex Steeler Luke Ferrara nabbing a hat-trick.