Shot-shy Sheffield Steelers must take their chances

Ben O’Connor says Steelers must learn to become more clinical in front of goal - especially when they do not create a lot of chances.

Sheffield had just five shots in 40 minutes in the Challenge Cup final defeat at Cardiff Devils on Sunday.

And the GB defenceman recognised the importance at taking opportunities when they presented themselves.

“We had a game plan, 1-4, keep them to the perimeter, and for the most part we did that” he said.

“We tried to hit them on the break and we did do that, but we didn’t finish as many chances as we’d like.

“When we play that type of hockey we have to be clinical.”

Disappointment after the Cup final

Disappointment after the Cup final

O’Connor said Devils, the Elite League champions-elect, were a “hell of a team and so are we.

“Anybody watching the game can tell that was a very good hockey game from both teams. We both had chances.

“They had us hemmed in for a lot of the game, to give them credit.

“But a lot of it was perimeter, the (Cardiff) shots that were taken were from the perimeter and we have got the best goalie in the League who is going to save those all day long. So we are ok with that.

“We had chances in the first that maybe we didn’t take, they come to bite you at the end of the game.

“It is heartbreaking to lose to them again.

“They take their chances better and that has shown over the course, when we have played them. Look at the scorelines they have always been close.”

O’Connor said it was impossible to predict how the results would pan out against Cardiff and other teams as the

League season draws to a close.

It was important to play hard, finish as high as possible, and take strong form into the Play Offs.

*Great Britain have named a 28-man squad, including Sheffield’s Luke Ferrara, for a training camp and two matches against Poland ahead of this year’s World Championship (Division 1B) in Belfast.

GB will play games against Poland at the National Ice Centre in Nottingham on Friday 14th April 2017 (7:30pm) and in Coventry’s Skydome on Saturday 15th April 2017 (1pm).

The squad will be cut to 23 ahead of the World Championship, where GB will face Croatia, Estonia, Lithuania, Netherlands and Japan from 23rd to 29th April 2017.

Head coach, Pete Russell, said: “We are delighted with our final 28 players.

“This was the toughest group to select but the coaches feel we have picked the right balance and the right group. There was so much competition across the board.

“From the Norway games we felt some guys really put themselves into the picture and that was a positive outcome.

“We have a good balance of offence and defence. I think it’s the strongest team we have selected in the two years we have been involved as coaches.

“We have been challenged to win a gold medal by the association and to do it on home soil.

“It’s going to be a wonderful experience and we need everyone behind the whole group. Let’s all pull together, be positive and believe this is our year.”

Netminders

Ben Bowns Cardiff Devils

Stephen Murphy

Belfast Giants

Jackson Whistle

Belfast Giants

Defence

Josh Batch Cardiff Devils

Mark Garside

Belfast Giants

Steve Lee Nottingham Panthers

Ben O’Connor

Sheffield Steelers

David Phillips

Sheffield Steelers

Mark Richardson

Cardiff Devils

Zach Sullivan

Braehead Clan

Paul Swindlehurst

Manchester Storm

Jonathan Weaver

Telford Tigers

Forwards

Brendan Brooks

Fife Flyers

David Clarke

Nottingham Panthers

Russell Cowley

Coventry Blaze

Robert Dowd Sheffield Steelers

Sam Duggan Orebro (Sweden)

Robert Farmer

Nottingham Panthers

Luke Ferrara

Sheffield Steelers

Robert Lachowicz

Nottingham Panthers

Evan Mosey Rockford Ice Hogs (USA)

Matthew Myers

Cardiff Devils

Craig Peacock

Braehead Clan

Jonathan Phillips

Sheffield Steelers

Jack Prince Manchester Storm

Colin Shields

Belfast Giants

Liam Stewart

Coventry Blaze

Ross Venus Coventry Blaze