TYLOR Michel is being applauded for not only scoring his first hat-trick for Sheffield Steelers - but he’s also credited for helping “carry the team”.
His ferociously-energetic line with Jonathan Phillips and Jason Hewitt has been easily the most consistent Steeler unit so far.
And coach Ryan Finnerty says Michel’s hat-trick last weekend was recognition of the new signing’s efforts.
“Tylor has intensity but a lot of skill too, he skates and shoots well. His line is carrying us,” said the team boss. “The fans are starting to see why he was so popular at Cardiff Devils. He is good on the puck, drives the net, he’s tough to contain and is strong down low. So much so that the other two feed off him.
“He has elevated Hewy and Jono’s game, they have been by far our best line. I cannot get those guys on the ice enough.”
Finnerty said Hewitt was “back to his old self now.
“He kind of re-dedicated himself to the game in the summer, taking on his own physical trainer,” he said. “He’d admit he’s had an off year last year but it’s all paying dividends now.”
Phillips is just one behind six point Michel, the Welshman has three goals and two points to his credit after four games.
While that line has been firing on all cylinders, Finnerty is looking for an improvement from other skaters.
Last Sunday, in the win at Coventry Blaze, he saw Colin Shields and Jeff Legue make the sort of impact that he is hoping for. He hopes they will carry that on in the first trip to Nottingham Panthers, on Saturday.
Speaking of the Panthers’ rivalry, Finnerty said: “The new guys understand what it’s about. They hear about it from people, hockey is a small world. There is not a lot I need to say to them. Boys like Danny Meyers (ex-Panther) will be telling them how important it is. It’s a different game, the mentality is different. The fans are in it. It’s exciting to be in games like that especially when you win.”