Silver lining for Sheffield Steelers post Nottingham Panthers’ defeat

Evan McGrath
Evan McGrath

Sheffield's top forward line was one positive that Paul Thompson could take from Steelers' 5-2 defeat at Nottingham Panthers, last weekend.

While he criticised the team for not being direct enough on Power Plays,

Thompson saw enough of the Robert Dowd-Evan McGrath-Jordan Owens combination to recognise a promising mixture of talents.

"They were probably our most effective line out there" said the coach.

 "They are subtle in the way they play and I liked them. I thought Josh Pitt and Stefan Della Rovere did well too, but there are two or three guys who are a step behind; I half expected that."

Thompson has this week to sort out some of the deficiencies before the Elite League programme starts on Saturday with a home game against Milton Keynes Lightning.

But he says he is "not disillusioned at all" by the opening night's display, just a little frustrated his team were looking for "the perfect play" rather than mirroring Panthers' finishing. 

"I like our fight, we just need to be more ruthless" he said.

On Saturday, Milton Keynes beat Guildford Flames 5-2 but were outplayed 7-4 in the return leg on Sunday.

Their team is bolstered by the Summer signings of last-year Steelers Tim Wallace, Eric Neiley, Andreas Valdix and Cole Shudra.

Sheffield Steelers' Evan McGrath. Picture: Marie Caley

Sheffield Steelers' Evan McGrath. Picture: Marie Caley

All will have an agenda to show their worth both in Sheffield and on Sunday in the return fixture in Buckinghamshire. On Wednesday, MKL conclude their pre-season camp with a home game against Coventry Blaze.

Meanwhile, Thompson said he did not witness the check to the head incident which saw Davey Phillips chucked out of Saturday's game.

"I didn't see the contact, but I heard it and cringed!" he said.

Phillips has now been suspended for one game by the EIHL.

SUNDAY RESULTS:

Coventry Blaze 4 Amiens (France) 2

Dundee Stars 2 EHC Frieburg (Germany) 3 (OT)

Fife Flyers 2 Tolzer Lowen (Germany) 3 (OT)

Guildford Flames 7 Milton Keynes Lightning 4

Manchester Storm 3 Eisperatin Crimmitschau (Germany) 6