Mark Thomas has revealed how the crazy night enjoyed by one-time Steelers’ goalie Sam Gospel continued after the netminder had steered his side to victory in the Challenge Cup semi-final second leg at Nottingham Panthers.
Gospel had been a last minute loan signing after Sheffield ran out of fit goaltenders. The 20-year-old was a sensation, saving three penalty shots to ensure his home-town team went out the contest.
Sheffield defenceman Thomas said Gospel’s contribution would become Steelers’ folklore from now on.
“When we got to the rink, we had a brief introduction, it turned out he lives locally and was there before his kit arrived.
“All our players just went over and introduced themselves to him and a few of the boys gave him advice telling, him just to be confident.
“Goalies have their own set routine and he just got on with it and warm up” said Thomas.
“He didn’t even look nervous. Sheffield v Nottingham is always a special game but he did not seem to be fazed by anything, really.
“We needed him to have a great night, and boy did he come up with it!”
The blue liner said the story didn’t end after penalty shots.
“Afterwards he became a legend , all the guys were jumping on top of him.
“We all got on the bus and Sam got a round of applause when he stepped aboard. We set off to go to ‘Hooters,’ but it was closed...so he got off again..to another round of applause and a slap on the back from the coach!”
Thomas, a GB veteran, said Gospel’s contribution illustrated that: “if you give British guys a chance they can do it.
“Look at Geoff Woolhouse. You have to feel sorry for him, he has gone through two years of hell with injuries and then when he came back he got a groin problem.
“Yet he still played at Belfast and helped us win on one leg, effectively. And those were important league points he helped us win.”
Steelers are back in League action this weekend, they travel to Hull on Saturday and Coventry the day after.