Steelers must be Hungary for wins

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Sheffield Steelers...3 Dunaujvarosi Acelbikak...6 (Sunday)

Herning Blue Fox...3 Steelers...0 (Saturday)

IT cost Steelers’ owner Tony Smith a cool £10,000 to send Steelers to what was ultimately a disappointing sojourn into the Continental Cup in Denmark.

Whether he got his money’s worth, will depend on how the team reacts to the experience, one which saw them lose all three Group D games.

Defeat is not something player coach Ryan Finnerty will savour ofcourse, but there are positives to pick over.

Their first game highlighted the side’s potential; they lost to crack Italian side Asiago, but only on a penalty shoot out.

In all three games they faced a mission impossible; playing squads with far deeper rosters.

They competed evenly for much of the time though and the experience will have done wonders for the likes of rookie Tom Squires and goaltender Geoff Woolhouse, who played the last session of the final game, making seven saves.

Also on the plus side, Mike Ramsay returned to action following his broken hand injury and scored his first goal since October 1.

And it was to see the fantastic support Steelers’ fans brought to the rink, on an expensive trip so close to Christmas.

But, in common with most British teams abroad, the skaters were never going to be in quite in the same league as their big-bench opponents. Yesterday, they conceded six goals to Hungary’s Dunaujvarosi, four of them in a torrid 15 minute spell. At that stage it was 6-1 to the Europeans, Matt Stephenson having scored earlier.

Jeff Legue broke away in final period to score and Ramsay gave the scoreline a slightly more dignified look, shooting home with seven minutes remaining.

On Saturday, Steelers took almost an hour in penalty minutes; something you cannot hope to do and win at this level.

They started off well, however, but with so many infringements being called it was only a matter of time before Blue Fox started pinging in the goals.

With Mark Thomas in the box Stephenson took a tripping minor, receiving another 10 minutes followed by a game misconduct and an early shower.

The resulting 5 on 3 power play saw Herning take the lead.

After killing two more Herning power plays Steelers conceded when the tiny figure of Lasse Sandgaard fired past John DeCaro.

Ashley Tait showed his displeasure to another call picking up a misconduct of his own as the middle period came to an end.

After more penalties and a series of outstanding penalty kills Blue Fox scored the third goal to kill off the game and any remote hopes of progression to the ‘super finals’ in France. Now it is back to the serious business of Elite League fare...and trying to recoup Smith’s ten grand!