Paul Thompson says it is Sheffield Steelers' inability to have scored enough goals against "the big teams" that has cost them, so far this season.
Sheffield, shut out on home ice mid-week by leaders Cardiff Devils, are in fifth spot having scored fewer goals than any other team in the top half of the EIHL.
On Sunday, they host Fife Flyers who they have lost to twice, scoring only a single goal in each of the games.
Thompson said Steelers had not taken their chances against the Scots, particularly, in the second game, at home, a match which ended with boos at the end.
Asked if that failing against Fife could be the epitaph on the whole season, Thompson replied: "I don't think we scored the goals against the big teams that we needed to score against."
Fife are in fourth place. And the Sheffield coach said: "They are in a Conference where they have had it quite easy this year but they have picked up big points out of Conference.
"I think that's the reason they are up there."
Steelers have to travel to play at Belfast Giants on Saturday, returning to Sheffield on game day against Fife.