Kitmart Dundee Stars general manager Omar Pacha was left raging at what he called an “embarrassing” show as his Elite League side slipped to a 6-1 home defeat to visitors Sheffield Steelers last night.
He said he is “beginning to question if some of our players are good enough to play in this league.”
With just two victories from 16 starts in the league so far this season, the Taysiders are currently second bottom of the 11-team standings and haven’t picked up a point in their last three games.
This is something Pacha is determined to change if Stars are to mount a challenge and start climbing the table.
The coach spoke bluntly about last night’s display and said: “We made some individual mistakes in the first period. Sure, we brought it back to 1-1. Then again there was an individual mistake for their second and third.
“In the middle period I thought we were OK and were beginning to do the right things.
“We were getting the pucks to the net and missed another three or four chances.
“However, in the third period, we embarrassed ourselves. It was unacceptable.”
The match started poorly for the Stars as they mounted an attack into the Steelers zone.
A long Sheffield clearance, which could easily have been called as icing, saw Mike Sullivan get to the puck first behind the goal-line but his pass behind the net took a wicked deflection off a Steelers forward and it bounced straight out to the unmarked Josh Pitt who beat Pontus Sjogren 31 seconds in.
Stars fought back as they broke out of their own zone when Matt Bissonnette delayed a pass from the left to the onrushing Shawn Boutin in the middle and the defenceman wristed high into Matt Climie’s top right corner for the equaliser at 5.09.
The visitors went a goal ahead at 11.43 when Jordan Owens fired into a crowded crease and the puck took a diversion off the skate of Robert Dowd to deceive Sjogren.
Stars fans were off their seats a minute later when a shot from Matt Marquardt saw the puck appear to bounce straight out from the rear upright but the ref ruled it out.
Steelers found themselves in penalty trouble at 15.48 when Owens received a two-plus-10 for boarding Petr Chaloupka and again when Ben O’Connor was given a minor for interference on Jordan Kelsall at 19.07.
However, Stars’ second powerplay was turned around in the Steelers zone and a two-on-one with Jonas Westerling and Jonathan Phillips saw the latter find the net short-handed at 19.25 to go into the first break 3-1 to the visitors.
After the restart, Sjogren had to be alert when Phillips and Ryan Martinelli tested Stars’ shotstopper on 26 minutes.
An extremely soft interference call on Brian Hart at 26.36 saw Steelers score on the resulting powerplay when Tanner Eberle tipped in an O’Connor shot at 28.17.
Stars had an extra man chance two minutes later when Martinelli was sin-binned but failed to make the powerplay count and the period ended 4-1 to Steelers.
In the final stanza, another questionable call against Stars saw Bissonnette protest his innocence as he was handed a two-minute minor for tripping in the 50th minute.
This proved costly again for the short-handed hosts as O’Connor blasted the puck high into Sjogren’s left-hand corner for goal No 5.
Then, Martinelli fired low to the Stars keeper’s left to kill the game.
Defenceman Kris Inglis received the Man of the Match award for Stars.
An apologetic said: “For the early goal against, we’ve had meetings about our poor starts. The guys are simply not ready to go.
“Last night our forwards did not produce and our only scorer was defenceman Boutin. It was just a poor display. It’s just not good enough. I apologise to the fans. I promise we will fix it. I am beginning to question if some of our players are good enough to play in this league.”