Home com­forts boost Steelers ahead of test­ing road trip

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - SPORT - PHIL HAR­RI­SON

COACH Paul Thomp­son hailed his Sh­effield Steelers’ team for their ro­bust­ness on home ice as they pre­pared for their lat­est Euro­pean test in im­pres­sive style.

Former NHL for­ward An­drew De­veaux en­joyed a mem­o­rable Sh­effield Arena de­but as he scored once and added an as­sist in a feisty 3-1 win over Manch­ester Storm, a re­sult that saw the Steelers emerge from their Chal- lenge Cup Group A cam­paign and into the quar­ter-fi­nals with a 100 per cent record.

Com­ing three days af­ter an 8-2 thrash­ing of Dundee Stars at Ice Sh­effield it un­der­stand­ably sends the five-time Elite League cham­pi­ons over to Den­mark for the Con­ti­nen­tal Cup in buoy­ant mood.

The South York­shire club head to Scan­di­navia on Thurs­day to pre­pare for the first of three matches in as many days, start­ing with an en­counter against Be­larus side Yunost Minsk the fol­low­ing night.

Games then fol­low against Latvia’s Kur­bads Riga and hosts Rung­sted af­ter which the Steelers will hope to have qual­i­fied for the next stage in Jan­uary.

Suc­cess early next year would then bring a re­turn to the Cham­pi­ons Hockey League and em­u­late last sea­son’s ex­ploits of archri­vals Not­ting­ham Pan­thers, who qual­i­fied for Europe’s pre­mier club com­pe­ti­tion through that route.

“That is four home games out of the last five that we’ve won and where we’ve only con­ceded three goals, so I’m pretty happy de­fen­sively with how we are mov­ing for­ward,” said Thomp­son, who will have tal­ented for­ward Colton Fret­ter back for Fri­day af­ter serv­ing a six-match ban.

“In the se­cond pe­riod we got a bit sloppy and our puck man­age­ment wasn’t very good and we were giv­ing too many pucks away. But spe­cial teams win you games and we had two pow­er­play goals from five chances and we had a 100 per cent penalty kill again.

“I for­got it was De­veaux’s Arena de­but – he’s played over at Ice Sh­effield a cou­ple of times. He’s start­ing to come now and we’re start­ing to see his real abil­i­ties.”

A 15th-minute pow­er­play marker from Levi Nel­son was all that sep­a­rated the two teams at the end of the first pe­riod on Sat- ur­day. Storm lev­elled through Ciaran Long at 33.50, only for An­dreas Jamtin to re­store the hosts’ ad­van­tage 38 sec­onds later.

De­veaux’s pow­er­play strike in the 48th minute then gave the Steelers the in­sur­ance they needed to cap off a scin­til­lat­ing group cam­paign.

Thomp­son said he hoped to have Mathieu Roy and Jonas Wester­ling back in con­tention for Fri­day af­ter both sat out Satur­day’s en­counter.

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