Thomp­son set to ring the changes

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - SPORT - Phil Har­ri­son SPORTS WRITER Email: phil.har­ri­son@ypn.co.uk Twit­ter: @PHar­risonYPN

SH­EFFIELD STEEL­ERS’ head coach Paul Thomp­son is ac­tively scour­ing the mar­ket af­ter ad­mit­ting his team isn’t “good enough.”

Another poor start by the five­time cham­pi­ons proved costly last night when they were trounced 5-1 at Coven­try Blaze – swift re­venge for the Mid­lan­ders fol­low­ing their 5-2 de­feat in Sh­effield the pre­vi­ous night.

Hav­ing looked so promis­ing in the first cou­ple of weeks of the 2017-18 cam­paign, the Steel­ers have en­coun­tered a num­ber of bumps in the road, so much so that in­jury re­place­ment Juha Koivisto is set to be re­placed him­self af­ter fail­ing to im­press dur­ing his short stay.

Last night, the Steel­ers were down and out be­fore 10 min­utes was up, 3-0 down through strikes from Adam Cour­chaine, Marc-Olivier Vallerand and Ben Lake.

A sec­ond-pe­riod goal from Dan­ick Pa­que­tte was fol­lowed in the 46th minute by Ryan Din­gle’s short­handed ef­fort, with John Arm­strong’s re­ply in the 55th minute pro­vid­ing scant con­so­la­tion.

“We got what we de­served, we were out-played and out-worked all night,” said Thomp­son. “It sim­ply isn’t good enough. We all know that. Our chem­istry isn’t right. It’s some­thing that has wor­ried me over the last few games and we just aren’t good enough right now – that is plain to see.

“We are cer­tainly in the mar­ket – we won’t stand still and let this con­tinue.”

On Saturday, the Steel­ers even­tu­ally se­cured what ap­peared a com­fort­able 5-2 vic­tory, al­though it was any­thing but that for the baulk of the 60 min­utes.

Twice the Steel­ers got them­selves ahead, twice Danny Stewart’s team pegged them back – both goals com­ing from for­mer Steel­ers for­ward Luke Fer­rara.

But, even­tu­ally, when Robert Dowd pinged in his own re­bound at 45.39, there was to be no way back for the vis­i­tors, al­though they came within inches of do­ing so for a third time – twice hit­ting the post be­fore the Steel­ers even­tu­ally made the game safe

That came when, with a lit­tle over two min­utes re­main­ing, de­fence­man Joonas Ronnberg smacked in a pow­er­play goal from the left wing with Blaze net­min­der Kevin Nastiuk scram­bling back across his crease. Just over a minute later, cap­tain Jonathan Phillips added an empty net strike from in­side his own zone.

Ear­lier, Matt Mar­quardt forced the puck home on the pow­er­play in front of the net against his for­mer club to give the hosts a sev­enth-minute lead, al­though the Blaze were level within four min­utes through Fer­rara, who has set­tled into life quickly at Coven­try since Steel­ers’ head coach Paul Thomp­son de­cided – with some re­luc­tance – to re­lease him in the sum­mer.

Steel­ers got their noses in front again early in the sec­ond af­ter Dowd’s ini­tial shot was saved by Nastiuk with the puck fall­ing kindly to line-mate An­dreas Valdix, who lifted the re­bound into the roof of the net.

But the Blaze re­fused to lie down, Ben Lake in par­tic­u­lar prov­ing a tricky cus­tomer, and they ac­tu­ally out­shot their hosts 26-18 over the first 40 min­utes, a statis­tic which alone en­sured they went in af­ter the sec­ond pe­riod level.

A bad line change left Fer­rara bear­ing down on Steel­ers’ net­min­der Ervins Mus­tukovs in only for Mark Mathe­son to be harshly ad­judged to have hauled the 24-year-old back, re­sult­ing in a penalty shot.

Up stepped Fer­rara to coolly dis­patch the puck past his for­mer team-mate.

We just aren’t good enough right now –that is plain to see. Steel­ers’ head coach, Paul Thomp­son, af­ter last night’s 5-1 loss at Coven­try

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