jason Hewitt’s burgeoning influence on Sheffield Steelers’ fortunes will be recognised again this weekend.
The firey forward - once a bit-part player and part-time agitator - is now clearly being earmarked for greater things. Last Sunday, he didn’t look out of place on a line with NHL ‘loanee’ wing Tom Sestito and ex NHLer Steve Goertzen. In fact, it was their goals that beat Belfast.
Sestito was initially placed on a formation with Tylor Michel and Colin Shields.
But a poor overall team performance at Fife on Saturday persuaded coach Ryan Finnerty to put Hewitt with the two North Americans.
“I am not a fan of changing lines around for the sake of it,” said Finnerty. “But we haven’t been scoring a lot of goals lately, barring the Braehead game, and I wanted to freshen things up. The Hewitt-Sestito-Goertzen line is a hard one to play against, they are physical, can skate have offensive skill and can forecheck.
“We’ll keep them together this weekend (Cardiff home, Friday, 7.30pm, Coventry, away, Saturday, 7pm, Hull, iceSheffield, Sunday, 6pm) and see how things go.” Three games in three days is a tall order for a squad that is battered, bruised and likely to again be without defenceman Mark Thomas, who has had a scan on a rib injury.
But centre Jeff Legue says the team is confident after the win against Belfast.
“Goertzen scored a huge goal on Sunday with the game winner,” he said. “That was a must win game or Belfast would have had a nice lead going already. Sestito certainly made a difference, too. You could see people’s attentions were directed on him, he creates space for his line mates and that makes things happen. You could see from his goal that his hands aren’t just for punching people with. He showed great awareness and real quick, soft hands to drag the puck from Murphy and score the equaliser. I don’t know if I want the NHL to go back or not now, I miss it on TV but we all love having the big man around.”