RYAN FINNERTY has made a surprising selection as the Elite League’s top team - fifth placed Braehead Clan!
The Sheffield Steelers’ coach is a big admirer of the way the Glasgow team have been playing - especially as they have moderate resources compared to the division’s big boys.
Finnerty said: “I honestly believe Braehead are the best team in the league at the moment. They played with eight forwards and four defence and a back-up goalie and won (7-4, Sunday) at Hull, which is a difficult place to go.
“Braehead have a habit of knocking off the bigger teams (they have beaten Nottingham Panthers and Belfast Giants recently) and have some really good players. Tim Wedderburn, on the point, is huge for them, he is probably the best defenceman in the league.
“The line including Jade Galbraith and Mike Bayrack is very dangerous too.”
Steelers, who are in third spot, seven points behind leaders Belfast with five games in hand, face another Scottish opposition, in second-from bottom Dundee Stars on Sunday.
“That’s our only game this weekend and I keep wondering when we are going to make up all these games in hand “ said Finnerty. “I can only assume all the other teams will be having single game weekends.”
Finnerty said he was happy with the team’s general form, they have had four successive League wins, but need to avoid any banana skins against Dundee.
“The last time we played them they just sat back, waiting for us to make mistakes. I assume they will do the same this time. They have a pretty talented forward in Jarrett Konkle (former AHL left wing) and we’ll have to key on him.”
Belfast could extend their lead over Sheffield and second place Panthers by four points by Sunday. The Irish have back-to-back home games against Coventry Blaze on Friday and Saturday. Dundee host Cardiff Devils on Friday but have no game on Saturday.
Hull Stingrays goalie Christian Boucher vented his anger with referee Andy Carson after losing to Braehead on Sunday. He tweeted: “I’ve never been so frustrated in my life. I’ve never wanted to punch a human in the face until today. #WorstRefInTheLeague”