Ice Hockey
Thompson angered after Sheffield defeats

By Steve Carpenter 14/02 Updated: 14/02 12:15

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Buy photos » Paul Thompson was frustrated to watch his Blaze team lose twice to Sheffield Steelers at the weekend. (S) Photo by Mark Tredgold

PAUL Thompson accepts his side aren't good enough to compete with the Elite League's top four after watching Blaze's Sheffield Steelers hoodoo continue at the weekend.

Four final-period goals consigned Thompson's men to a 3-2 defeat in Sheffield on Saturday (February 11) and they narrowly lost out 3-2 at the Skydome the following evening.

The defeats push Blaze down to fifth in the league standing but Thompson is adamant their season is not over yet.

"You have to give them credit, they have done to us what we have been doing to teams for years," said Thompson.

"We are continuously making the same mistakes and they exposed a few areas. We were a little naive.

"This club is not at the level of a Belfast or a Sheffield or a Nottingham.

"Those teams have a bit more quality than us. We have some work to do to get back there but we are determined to do that."

Blaze hadn't beaten Steelers in 13 attempts, suffering five defeats in six meetings this season and that record didn't look like changing when Chad Huttel fired the hosts ahead at the Sheffield Arena on Friday.

The goal was a big blow early on for Thompson's side, but they managed to dig deep and pulled level thanks to Shea Guthrie, and the Blaze forward put his team ahead with his 24th goal of the campaign.

The lead however didn't last long as Steelers made it 2-2 towards the end of the second period with a powerplay marker from Neil Clark.

A tight third period followed but was decided six minutes from time when Mike Ramsay won it for Steelers.

The two teams met for the final time this season the following evening at the Skydome and Blaze looked on course to claim their first win their league rivals in 14 attempts when they led 3-1 early in the third period before the hosts hit back.

Robert Farmer handed Blaze a first-period lead with his 20th goal of the season, but Mike Ramsay levelled for the visitors in the 24th minute.

Farmer’s second of the night restored Blaze’s lead and Owen Fussey stretched their advantage in the 44th minute.

Blaze forward Matic Kralj and Steelers player-coach Ryan Finnerty were then assessed five-minute fighting majors before three

goals inside 145 seconds turned the game on its head.

Jason Hewitt tied the game up and Jeff Legue put Steelers ahead for the first time 30 seconds later before a goal from Neil Clark.

Farmer and Steelers defenceman Nick Duff also collected five-minute fighting majors before Ramsay sealed the victory for the

visitors with just over one minute remaining.

It was a bitter pill to swallow for Blaze and they will look to put things right when they Braehead Clan in another double header this weekend.

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Buy photos» Matic Krajl and Steelers player coach Ryan Finnerty drop the gloves. (S) Photo by Mark Tredgold

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