To (badly) paraphrase a festive classic: ‘On the nine days of Christmas my true love sent to me...two Panthers beatings, no golden rings and a Giant headache for the Steelers coach.’
Between Boxing Day to Saturday, Steelers played four and lost four. They had one overtime point to show out of a possible eight, yielding ground to two title competitors.
Scored eight, conceded 18. Yep, there is certainly no Partridge in the Pear Tree, this year.
This was the Yuletide series: Steelers first lost 0-4 at home to Nottingham. Then they went two up at Panthers and lost 2-3. Then they went two up at Belfast on Friday and lost 5-3. And finally they went 1-0 and 2-1 up at Belfast on Saturday and lost 3-6.
The imports? Jeff Legue has one point and those four defeats to show since rejoining. Michael Forney has no goals in five matches. Top marksman Mathieu Roy suffered a lung injury, wasn’t allowed to fly home, so caught a ferry back. He will miss the next three games. He scored twice at Hull on December 21, but hasn’t found the net in the surrounding six games. Tyler Mosienko? One goal in six. Danny Bois? two in nine.
The inconsistency of his side were reflected in Adams’ post-series comments. He admitted his skaters become “incredibly weak mentally and physically” in game pressure points. Team and individual instructions weren’t applied. Mental toughness was absent. A “reassessment” was necessary.
Yet in the same analysis, a melancholy Adams still claimed his team had the qualities to reverse the slide down the league table, adding: “There is no question we can do it.”
On Friday, Steelers Sheffield just couldn’t contain Belfast. Five different Giants scorers went on the board. Steelers couldn’t match that firepower, two of their three goals came from defencemen.
Still, they’d outshot Giants 11-4 in Friday’s final period and Adams had demanded the same intensity on Saturday.
And it was Steelers who took the lead at 3;21, Mosienko touching in Rod Sarich’s drive. Colin Shields levelled before Colton Fretter scored on an odd man rush at 15;53.
Then Sheffield imploded, conceding three goals in one minute 37 seconds, from Craig Peacock, Darryl Lloyd and Ray Sawada. Jason Hewitt got one back, but Peacock and Mike Kompon inflicted more damage.
The result: Monday morning - and Steelers have dropped to fourth place in the table...
Sunday 4th January
Cardiff Devils 8 Fife Flyers 5
Coventry Blaze 2 Nottingham Panthers 1 (After Penalty Shootout)
Edinburgh Capitals 0 Braehead Clan 5