A YOUNG French Canadian stands between Sheffield Steelers and the Challenge Cup semi-final, tomorrow night.
Sheffield coach Ryan Finnerty singles out Nic Riopel as the man who represents the most danger to their Cup ambitions.
The shot-stopper was previously recognised as one of the best goaltenders in the ECHL, but despite the scrutiny of three AHL teams and attending a Philadelphia Flyers’ training camp, he made the move to the UK at the relatively young age of 23.
Now Sheffield have to find a way past a goalie who stopped 38 Steeler shots in the first leg (4-2 win for Stars,) and some believe, is the best in the Elite division, on his day.
Finnerty said: “Their goalie is their key player, he will see a lot of action tomorrow.
“We will get the puck to him, we will go to the net and create havoc in front of him.
“We respect Dundee and the job they did in the first leg, respect yes, fear no, not at all.
“Every person in the club knows the importance of Wednesday evening, we have to progress and I’m confident we will” said Finnerty.
“We will go after Dundee in every way we know. We have to out skate them and out play them” added the coach.
“We have to be mean and physical with them as well.
“The Steelers will take the game to Dundee from the first shift. In iceSheffield we can play a more physical game than at the Arena.
“Fans can expect action from the get-go. We want this Cup.
“We will come into the game on the back of two good, gutsy performances, (wins home and away, Cardiff Devils and Edinburgh Captitals) and decent team effort.
“We have 65 minutes to win the tie, and if we have to use every second of that we will. I have confidence in these players. “We said on day one the Challenge Cup was hugely important to us, tomorrow we will prove that.”
Another Dundee man Sheffield will have to concern themselves with at iceSheffield is Sami Ryhanen, who scored three assists in the first leg.
Meanwhile, Stars are still smarting a 4-2 home defeat on Sunday to Braehead Clan.