'Vanilla' Sheffield Steelers must learn from last period at Coventry Blaze

Sheffield boss Aaron Fox had "a bad taste" in his mouth after his side's 5-2 devouring of Coventry Blaze.
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While it had been a successful road outing, the coach couldn't help but focus on correcting issues that had seen the Blaze side rally from 4-0 to half the deficit.

Relieved as he was with the eventual two points, the fact that Sheffield had conceded two in a sloppy section of the game clearly gave him coaching indigestion.

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Their start to the third period, he said, had been "vanilla" and the accent on intelligently preserving the lead seemed to have got lost.

Aaron Fox - bitter tasteAaron Fox - bitter taste
Aaron Fox - bitter taste

"We didn't close the game out properly and they made it a two-goal game" said Fox.

"Yes, it is good that we got the points but it has left a bad taste in my mouth.

"We addressed it after the game and will show some video this week.

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"We have to play winning hockey in the third period - we don't need to change our game when the score is up.

Two goal Robert DowdTwo goal Robert Dowd
Two goal Robert Dowd

"We don't need to chase things. We will use this as a learning experience."

Fox was content with the way Steelers had initially approached the game, however.

"We play a strong first period, we wanted to start on time, we have not been great at that.

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"They'd had a long trip to Glasgow on Saturday (6-5 shootout win) and we took over the game.

"They didn't have a sniff in the second period, but momentum changed, we took a penalty we didn't need to and all the good work was nearly undone. We should not have left them back in that game."

Certainly, Steelers had cashed in on a leggy Coventry side, from the first face off.

Mitchell Balmas was denied by Blaze goalie Taran Kozun, but the Canadian shotstopper was undone in a devastating, three-minute sequence.

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First Brett Neumann's rebound, his first goal of the season, put Sheffield ahead and by 16:01 Robert Dowd added another, on a Power Play.

Steelers' first trip to the SkyDome Arena this season was becoming an enjoyable one with the visitors more than outshooting their hosts, two-to-one, and it was no big surprise when Mark Simpson stuffed the puck home to bring up a 3-0 advantage.

The domination forced Coventry coach Danny Stewart to call a Time Out as he tried to re-set his side that had played so well in South Yorkshire in September's opening fixture.

Stewart's instructions didn't work immediately though and for the second time this season, Dowd claimed a brace, for 4-0.

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Coventry's Steeler old-boy Danny Kristo finally got the Midlanders on the scoresheet with 11 minutes left.

And when Daniel Ciampini was called for slashing, Kristo turned playmaker as Kobe Roth reduced the margin further, and giving coach Fox that nasty taste.

But it was game-over when Balmas slotted in an empty-netter for a 5-2 victory.