Danger lurks in the North

Worried: Jason Hewitt says there could be tough times ahead.
Worried: Jason Hewitt says there could be tough times ahead.
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GAME-winning goal hero Jason Hewitt says an unpredictable home and away tie with Scottish opponents - as well as a trip to a “horrible” North-east rink - could yet derail Sheffield Steelers’ Elite League title hopes.

Hewitt scored the dramatic final goal in the 4-3 win over Belfast Giants in midweek

The victory means wins at Newcastle Vipers’ Whitley Bay rink tomorrow and the following weekend’s brace of games against Braehead Clan will ensure the championship heads to Sheffield Arena.

But Hewitt is taking nothing for granted. “I hope we win it, but I can’t guarantee it. We have put ourselves in a great position,” he said.

“But Braehead are a good team. They beat us earlier in the year four zip, so we can’t take them for granted; they have got a lot of firepower.

“(Player-coach) Bruce Richardson has them playing hard so it will definitely be a tough test and we have to go to Whitley Bay too, and that’s a horrible place to play. There is nothing easy about this.”

AUDIO: Listen to Jason Hewitt’s full interview with Bob Westerdale - click the External Link, in the column on the right.

Hewitt, aged 27, says he does not know why his side keep being outshot in matches - a theme repeated in Wednesday’s game, when Belfast outshot them 50-17.

The Mancunian forward points out that Giants had outshot Nottingham Panthers (34-12) the previous evening, but had lost there too.

“Obviously Belfast do something right in their own zone, they have got a big ‘D’ (defence) and maybe that’s something to do with it, or maybe we are not shooting as much as we should be and looking for a pretty play,” he said.

But he said when Sheffield skaters played simply, communicated well and got the puck on goal they were successful.

“We have to play as a team; not as individuals. We’ll definitely win it if we play like that,” he said.

n Former Vipers coach and Steelers skipper Rob Wilson will be keeping an eye on Sunday’s clash between his former clubs. Wilson who has just finished his first season in Italy with Neumarkt Egna, believes it could turn out to be a game to remember.

“Both coaches will have their teams up for this one,” said Wilson. “Sheffield’s win against Belfast means they have a slim chance of winning the league on Sunday so I am sure Sheffield fans will be turning up in force.”