A fourth-straight shut out and a possible season-ending injury to one of Sheffield Steelers’ top forwards were not the only issues on Paul Thompson’s mind after his side’s 3-0 win over Manchester Storm.
The coach was incensed by a Linden Springer hit on Mark Matheson at the end of the fourth blank-sheet game, on Saturday at Sheffield Arena - an incident he is complaining to the League’s Player Safety officials about.
He said: “A nasty hit, which I will be sending a video in. Another Manchester hit. A typical cheap shot hit. Ramming one of the best defenceman in the league’s face straight into the glass.”
Matheson's facial injuries were being assessed today.
The bad blood lingered after yesterday's final hooter, and doubtless will resume in the New Year’s Day return leg in Altrincham.
Steelers are on form right now, but the loss of Armstrong needs addressing immediately, with a new player on the radar.
“We are not sure exactly how long John is going to be out for. It could be a while” said Thompson.
“He is going back to see the specialist. It is a right kick in the back-side.
I felt in the last two or three games John was really finding his feet again, his form was excellent in both games against Nottingham, he took a commanding role, but that’s the sport. You pick up injuries and you have to move on.
“We will be looking to bring someone in.
“We were looking to bring another guy in anyway, regardless of injury, with the amount of games we have got coming up. We are one of the few teams that don’t carry a spare. So it’s been forced upon us now.”
Armstrong’s injury came when he caught his finger in a fight-rival’s jersey at Nottingham. “It’s probably surgery, we’ll just have to wait.”
The coach said the team would not get carried away by the record four shut-outs.
“We don’t get too high, here because we know what is round the corner when we take a loss. Four shut outs in a row is something we are proud of but we are keeping that in house.”"