Title defence starts for Sheffield Steelers at Dundee

Ice hockey in Sheffield
Ice hockey in Sheffield

The champions of British ice hockey start the defence of their crown tomorrow.

Steelers make their first trip north of the border to take on Dundee Stars in their EIHL league opener for 2015-6.

Sheffield won the title last year under coach Gerad Adams and now have the challenge of retaining it under his replacement, Paul Thompson.

Asked about the significance of the fixture, Thompson replied: “ We have just got to keep going how we are going, regardless of who we are playing.

“We have scored 17 goals and conceded one in three games. We have just got to keep going on that vein.

“Dundee have started well, they had a big win in Manchester (7-2.)

“We have just got to work on why we are winning right now and obviously be conscious of what they have.

“Offensively they are very gifted, if you give them a chance, if you give them two-on-ones, you give them odd-man rushes, they have the guys that can finish. They are skilled offensively but defensively we are pretty tight as well which sows in our goals-against column.”

On Sunday, the Challenge cup action continues at home to Manchester Storm.

A win will confirm the House of Steel side’s progress to the knockout stages.

“They (Storm) are a smaller team, but they are smart and can make plays, probably that smaller arena (Altrincham) doesn’t suit them as much has the bigger ice” said the coach.

“I think they skate pretty well. It’s a long trip up to Dundee, we get back in the early hours of the morning and we have to make sure we are ready.

Thompson says the intensity shown by three lines in recent games was down to the same level of competitiveness they show every day in training. “All credit to the boys for buying in for what we bring.”

Ironically, as Steelers host Storm, Sheffield’s second team, the Steeldogs, are away at Manchester Phoenix, in the EPL...Mark Thomas’s new side.

First though, they entertain Guildford Flames tomorrow.