Steelers’ coach Gerad Adams wants Michael Forney to prove he is one of the best players in the Elite League after his four-goal haul against Dundee Stars on Wednesday.
Forney broke an eight-game barren streak with his collection of strikes in the 11-1 Challenge Cup mauling.
The American forward had collected four assists in that time, but his lean goal spell coincided with some mixed results for Sheffield.
After the Dundee spectacle, Adams was asked if the 26-year-old had it in him to be the top player in the UK scene.
“Yes, I think he needs to prove it” said the team boss.
“I think he will going forward, I know he will, there is more to come from him.
“He is a premier player and needs to be the best player in those games.”
Forney is second only to linemate Mathieu Roy in the points stakes and is an important factor in Adams’ title-hunting mission.
“We are building, it is a process still” said Adams.
“Part of the process was to have a strong performance (versus Dundee) to say we have cleared everything could be misleading.” Some players have previously been guilty of not taking the coach’s instructions on to the ice.
But against the under-strength Stars side, they kept to his simple, direct dogma.
“Our start kind of finished the game, we established a good 10 minutes giving us two goals and completely killed off the aggregate score (14-1.)
“We stressed (the use of) good habits right the way through the game, keeping shots to the outside, not giving up any odd-man rushes.”
Belfast are the visitors to Sheffield Arena tomorrow. The champions will be a totally different proposition.
“They are a pretty aggressive team up the ice, they like to go from the outside to the middle, they have got some big bodies and their Power Play is pretty good.”
He added: “They like to throw pucks to the net. They are a very good hockey team, well structured.”
Belfast and Sheffield are equal on points in the Elite League table, in third and fourth places respectively.