Sheffield Steelers coach Aaron Fox breaks silence after Belfast Giants win EIHL championship

Sheffield Steelers' head coach Aaron Fox has never previously been in the position where an opposing team has won a league title on his own club's ice pad.

Monday, 11th April 2022, 9:59 am

And he certainly won't want to do it again after seeing Belfast Giants capture the EIHL championship at Sheffield Arena on Sunday.

It was some consolation that his players had been "committed to the cause" against Giants, but not much.

You get the impression that faltering in the run-in to the race will be ingrained in his, and his team's consciousness, for some time.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

He credited the "excellent" Belfast outfit for winning the trophy after 52 games but said when his own side hit peak form they can beat any side in the division...and win the forthcoming play offs.

Defenceman Davey Phillips, like the rest, will have to pick themselves up after this weekend's morale-crippler.

He said he was "absolutely gutted."

The GB blueliner commented: "It's been a long season and we've given everything we've got, they are a good bunch of guys, it is tough to put into words the disappointment."

An arrow through Steelers' heart. Conway scores the winning penalty shot.

Despite the silverware going to Northern Ireland, Phillips said he felt Sheffield had the better team of the two, but gave them credit for what they had achieved and their two wins in South Yorkshire.

"They found a way to get it done. They played two smart away games, really tight defensively, and took their chances."

Phillips said there was still a trophy left to win in the post-season and his thoughts and that of the team had to go towards that and alleviate the "bad taste in our mouths."

In the remaining two dead rubber league games at Glasgow Clan on Wednesday and at Belfast on Friday, Fox may bring benched import forwards Nico Feldner and/or Tommaso Traversa back into the roster, especially with players like Brandon Whistle carrying injuries.

Aaron Fox down in the mouth.

Whistle needed medical checks after the game.

When the smoke had cleared, the weekend back-to-back losses to Belfast left Steelers four points behind the champions.

Giants' coach Adam Keefe said it felt "amazing" to win the season's main trophy and commended his team's commitment and flexibility.

He had Scott Conway to thank the most - he scored the golden goal in a shootout after the teams had tied 1-1 in regular and overtime.

So close yet so far for Marco Vallerand.

But the coach acknowledged Sheffield would be a threat as they seek to go for the treble.

Eight-placed Glasgow Clan, who entertain Sheffield in the midweek fixture, were shut out 2-0 at Coventry Blaze on Sunday night.