Sheffield Steelers’ training emphasis has this week focused on the vital areas around both net fronts.
Coach Doug Christiansen staged drills to try and improve tip-ins, deflections and screening at the opposition net - and the removal of invasive forwards at the other end.
Steelers could not match the finishing power of champions-elect Belfast Giants last weekend and that has to improve as the season approaches crunch time.
Captain Steve Goertzen said: “We’ve been working on what we do at both net-fronts, we have to be strong in front of our own and get a stick on pucks going to the other. We got chances in Belfast, but didn’t bear down and score enough. In the last month we have been scoring and we certainly were not outclassed at Belfast, but they buried their chances and we didn’t. Things like that happen but we have to get back to basics.”
Goertzen was impressed by the neutral zone defensive strategy employed by Giants. “When you are trying to increase speed they know how to slow you up. They are a good team, but there are other trophies and we can solve what they do in the other games against them.”
The skipper’s own form is impressive. He is the third leading points scorer and averages a point a game. The former Columbus Blue Jackets NHLer will lead his team out at Nottingham Panthers tonight and then Coventry Blaze, home, tomorrow.
Tim Spencer is expected back after suffering from flu.