Sheffield Steelers don’t need me: Tomas Petruska

Tomas Petruska jnjury - Sheffield Steelers v Cardiff Devils 08/03/15
Tomas Petruska jnjury - Sheffield Steelers v Cardiff Devils 08/03/15
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Tomas Petruska is convinced Sheffield Steelers can revitalise their late season pursuit of titles, without him.

The first line winger went off with a hamstring problem six minutes into the Challenge Cup final defeat to Cardiff Devils. Afterwards Gerad Adams said the loss of the 29-year-old Slovakian was a primary reason for their loss.

Steelers return to league action tonight against Devils without the forward.

But Petruska thinks the team is strong enough to maintain the surge for honours whether he is part of it or not.

“There are a lot of good guys here everybody has to take a step forward and forget about that night” he said.

“We have to focus because we are still in the hunt for the championship. It doesn’t matter if I am in the line-up or not, ofcourse we can do it.

“The result against Cardiff might help us, because then you have got to get back with a chip on our shoulders. “

Petruska said: “After every bad experience, if you can take positives, it will make you better.

“But you have got to be ready to play best game to win” he said.

“I believe the Cup final is something that will help us win the league, hopefully and I am sure the guys will come back strong because they are a bunch of competitive guys in our locker

room and they are going to want to get back at it right where we left off. I think we are going to be fine.

“The team was winning before I got here, so I am sure they can do it.”

Coach Adams has not specified who will take his position, other than it won’t be Jeff Legue, whose slashing penalty produced the Power Play in which Devils scored the first last Sunday.

He may decide not to disrupt the second line, which could mean a promotion for skipper Jonathan Phillips.

* Great Britain head coach Pete Russell has announced his first national-team squad ahead of April’s World Championships in Eindhoven and two international fixtures against Poland.

The squad of 31 will be reduced to a final 23-man team in approximately two weeks.

Coventry’s Russell Cowley earns a recall to the squad and is joined by Belfast’s Craig Peacock, who missed the 2014 World Championship in Lithuania through injury.

Matty Davies and David Clarke are both unavailable for this year’s championship because of long-term injuries.

Former GB Under-20 stars Josh Batch, James Griffin, Matt Haywood, Tom Murdy, Sam Oakford, Jack Prince, Joey Lewis and Liam Stewart are all included - and will be looking to win their first full Great Britain caps.

Nottingham’s Jonathan Boxill will also be seeking a call-up to the final team, having last represented GB at under-18 level.

Dundee Stars duo of Chris Blight and Sam McCluskey are both named in the squad and will be aiming to secure their first GB caps at any level.

Russell said: “Over the last three or so months we have watched a lot of hockey across the leagues and been in contact with lots of different hockey people in the UK, mainland Europe and USA.

“We have the final 31 and it’s the right players and people. They all deserve their place and it’s an exciting group to look at.

“The competition for the final 23 hots up now and that can only be good for every player, as well as each team at this important stage of the season.

“People say it’s a tough job, yes it is, but it’s a great problem as a coach to have good players to select from.

“As the clock ticks down I get more excited each day till April and Eindhoven.”

GB play back-to-back international games against Poland at the National Ice Centre in Nottingham on Thursday 9th April and at the Coventry Skydome a night later.

They then travel to Eindhoven for the World Championship (Division 1B) where they face hosts Netherlands, along with Croatia, Estonia, Lithuania and Korea, from 13th to 19th April.

GB INITIAL 31-MAN SQUAD

Josh Batch - Cardiff Devils

Chris Blight - Dundee Stars

Jonathan Boxill - Nottingham Panthers

Ben Bowns - Cardiff Devils

Russell Cowley - Coventry Blaze

Ben Davies - Braehead Clan

Robert Dowd - Sheffield Steelers

Robert Farmer - Nottingham Panthers

Mark Garside - Belfast Giants

James Griffin - Coventry Blaze

Matt Haywood - Braehead Clan

Robert Lachowicz - Nottingham Panthers

Stephen Lee - Nottingham Panthers

Joey Lewis- EC Bad Tolz

Stevie Lyle - Swindon Wildcats

Sam McCluskey - Dundee Stars

Tom Murdy- Telford Tigers

Stephen Murphy - Belfast Giants

Matthew Myers - Cardiff Devils

Sam Oakford - Nottingham Panthers

Ben O’Connor - Sheffield Steelers

Craig Peacock - Belfast Giants

David Phillips - Belfast Giants

Jonathan Phillips - Sheffield Steelers

Jack Prince - University of Alabama-Huntsville

Mark Richardson - Cardiff Devils

Colin Shields - Belfast Giants

Liam Stewart - Spokane Chiefs

Paul Swindlehurst - Dundee Stars

Ashley Tait - Coventry Blaze

Jonathan Weaver - Telford Tigers