Sheffield Steelers' 'fun hockey' isn't so enjoyable for Fife Flyers

Coach Aaron Fox described it as "fun hockey" - although that interpretation will not have been shared by his opposite number.

Friday, 5th November 2021, 10:59 am

A clinical Sheffield Steelers had overwhelmed Fife Flyers 6-0 and the Scottish team's coach Todd Dutiaume was forced to recognise both the gulf between the rosters and the fact his team will face a season-long battle to stay relative in a league where the top four teams tend to dominate when the trophies are handed out.

Fife had been ripped apart. Sheffield revelled in their expansive passing game and were totally at ease within their overall structure.

It was obvious that, despite gaps in Sheffield's ranks, every player knew their role and exactly where they should be on the ice.

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Steelers' passing game in Fife's half of the ice sheet resembled a super-charged practice session.

In short, Flyers did well to keep the score down to six.

"We were dialled from puck drop," said Fox.

"I think that first period might have been the best 20 (minutes) we have had this year. We played the right way, ready to compete, ready to win battles.

Celebration for Steelers in 6-0 thrashing of Fife Pic Dean Woolley

"That was some pretty fun hockey that we played. I felt that we spread them out and expanded their coverage and used our skills to make plays."

He said his team "kind of cruised" in the third period, where they limited themselves to a single goal, leaving some energy for the more testing visit on Saturday of one of that perceived top four, Belfast Giants.

Midweek games, especially against lower-ranking teams, are rarely big draws in terms of Arena crowds. A seasonal low gate of 4,711 watched Justin Hodgman and Evan Mosey dictate much of Sheffield's fluid movement, Robert Dowd tussle and battle all night, Anthony DeLuca score his first brace so far, Brandon Whistle looking twice the player he used to be in orange and Barry Brust keeping his first clean sheet, a relatively easy night featuring 15 saves.

The fans are also warming to Finnish new boy Matias Sointu who has now found the net six times in the last four games.

Anthony Deluca, centre, scored a brace against Fife Pic Dean Woolley

"He is one of those guys who finds the soft areas and reads the game very, very well. He's easy to play with and right now he has definitely been hot" said a satisfied Fox.

Wednesday's win means Sheffield have taken 15 points from the last available 18.

And they are hoping that their injured parties, John Armstrong, Brendan Connolly, and Martin Látal will be back soon - although it is highly unlikely Látal will be in the line-up against the Giants.

Belfast are a good hockey team, acknowledged Fox.

Matias Sointu watches the puck over the line Pic Dean Woolley

"We have just started to watch a little film on them," he said.

"The guys they have brought in all look solid and they have played some good hockey.

"I know they are only two and two in the league but I can't really take much from that because when I watch them they look good.

"They are always going to be one of those teams that you feel like when you come down the stretch they'll be there."

Adrian Saxrud-Danielsen mirror image pic by Hayley Roberts