Puck stopper Geoff shows team loyalty

Clean sheet: Geoff Woolhouse shut out Fife.     Picture: Rik Rayner
Clean sheet: Geoff Woolhouse shut out Fife. Picture: Rik Rayner
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Football may be full of prima donnas, but you won’t find many in British ice hockey.

Take Sheffield Steelers’ stand-in goaltender Geoff Woolhouse, for example. He rarely gets a fair share of the limelight - but when he does, he realises it won’t be long before he is back in the shadows.

And he accepts that, without complaint.

On Sunday, the 26-year-old understudy to John DeCaro, recorded a clean sheet, turning back 17 shots in the 5-0 drubbing of Fife Flyers.

Woolhouse said: “It is great when you get to play in competitive games. You want to play all the time and when you get a game you do realise how much you miss it.

“Teams have to ice their strongest side nearly every night, but it is good for the team that you can rest Johnny from time to time, give him a breather, it’s great for every one.”

Woolhouse was understudy to wonder goalie Ervins ‘Moose’ Mustukovs last term - but is coy about saying whether DeCaro or the Latvian is the most complete netminder.

“It is hard to compare them - other than the fact Johnny is not a mute!

“Johnny is a much more outgoing as a personality, technically he is a real north American style butterfly goalie, he’s big, he covers the net so well,” he said.

“Moose was butterfly, but more unorthodox. I couldn’t say who was the best, I have learned from them both.”

Generally, Woolhouse says there is much to choose between the Steelers’ team of this year and Ben Simon’s Elite League champs.

He said: “Last year we had a great set of lads who grafted, everybody chipped in and that’s why we won the league. This team is not too dissimilar. Boys are great, they work hard, some people might think we are probably not playing full to our potential, but it is early days and we have got injuries. Our defence this year has a bit more skill, yet last year’s defence was rock solid. Forward-wise it’s similar.”

Steelers are currently in second position, one point behind Belfast Giants.