NEIL Clark’s surprise goalscoring spree has put him on a par with Sheffield Steelers’ top sniper Joey Talbot.
The 6ft 2ins Canadian left wing has bagged 28 goals (and 22 assists) so far, including five against Edinburgh Capitals last Saturday.
Few people thought the burly 29 year old would contribute so offensively when he was signed in the summer.
But Clark has shown to have more than just power and energy at his disposal.
He has displayed a dead-eyed accuracy which he hopes will manifest itself again, tonight (7.30pm) when Sheffield host struggling Newcastle Vipers.
Steelers’ coach Ben Simon is delighted the former Wichita Thunder player has already hit a career high of 28 goals to date, calling him “our glue guy,” binding the team together.
“He keeps things light but also knows when to focus and knuckle down and work hard - it’s a fine balance” said Simon. “He has a great sense of humour and everyone has taken to him. He brings us a little bit of everything. He has proven he can score goals. He knows the game and he has been around long enough to know how he can be effective.
“He knows he can’t skate through three guys by stick handling, that’s just not Neil Clark. That’s someone else’s job and they will do that and then find him with the puck and Neil then will do his job by burying it,” said the coach.
Steelers are strong favourites to win tonight - they have beaten Vipers 8-0 twice this year and recorded two other wins of 3-0 and 5-3.
Second from bottom Vipers lost twice last weekend, conceding 10 goals, to Braehead Clan.
A win tonight would put Steelers equal second with Belfast Giants, whom they play on Saturday.
The Great Britain Under 18s squad for the World Championships in Riga, Latvia, (April 11-17) includes Shaun Wild and Elliott Knell of the Sheffield Spartans.