ICE HOCKEY: Ugly scenes as Hewitt’s nose is broken by punch

Jason Hewitt
Jason Hewitt
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STEELERS believe Coventry Blaze’s ex NHLer Brad Leeb should be banned for six matches after breaking Jason Hewitt’s nose with a sucker-punch in Saturday’s pre-season ‘friendly.’

STEELERS believe Coventry Blaze’s ex NHLer Brad Leeb should be banned for six matches after breaking Jason Hewitt’s nose with a sucker-punch in Saturday’s pre-season ‘friendly.’

Hewitt had earlier stirred up trouble by checking an opponent from behind – and then shoved Leeb after he confronted him. An enraged Leeb stormed behind Hewitt, punching him to the head.

Hewitt dropped to the ice, covering up as Leeb bombarded him with shots.

If that wasn’t ugly enough, Hewitt seemed on the verge of swinging his stick at Leeb once he’d recovered and wrestled with an official.

Both players were ejected; Leeb given a match penalty, which meant he didn’t play in the second exhibition against Steelers last night.

Sheffield coach Ryan Finnerty slammed Leeb as “gutless.”

Personally, I thought we’d witnessed the actions of a man who had graced Vancouver Canucks and Toronto MapleLeafs but had now heaped disgrace on himself.

Finnerty said: “I hate sucker punching. It has to be stamped out. This is a good opportunity for the League to set a precedent. There is no room for it - that’s for bush (unprofessional) leagues.”

Finnerty expects a three game ban, but recalled that Tylor Michel was once banned for six games for an incident – and that might be ‘an indication’ for the League.

“I’m all for hard-nosed hockey but when a guy is down you stop (punching.) Leeb’s been around and should know better. Hewy may need surgery. It was absolutely gutless, they have a tough team and don’t need to do that.”

Blaze controlled Arena ice in the second period on Saturday; it was enough to celebrate a 4-3 win.

Sheffield specifically failed to snuff out left wing Dustin Cameron, who scored a hat-trick and his lightning Canadian countryman Shea Guthrie, who scored on a 5-on-3 power play.

Plus points were three cracking goals. Drew Fata, Steve Goertzen and Colin Shields all scored spectacularly on their debuts.

Last night, in the return fixture and with Hewitt back in the side without a face guard, Steelers were much improved and saw a first goal from James Jorgensen, after just five minutes.

That was nullified in the second session when Cameron, again, found his way to the net .

Steelers’ penalty killers made it 2-1 with a short handeded effort, Shields the scorer.

And at 49.56 new import forwards enjoyed a communal goal: Goertzen scoring with assists from Cory Pecker (playing better at centre than wing) and Shawn Limpright to seal a 3-1 win.

“We played well last night, we were unfortunate not to get more. I am very impressed with how we played, a well balanced performance and much better than Saturday” said Finnerty.