Sheffield Steelers’ top wingers must find form quickly

Mathieu Roy in pursuit of a tip-in for Sheffield Steelers v Frolunda Indians. Pic: Dean Woolley
Mathieu Roy in pursuit of a tip-in for Sheffield Steelers v Frolunda Indians. Pic: Dean Woolley
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Sheffield Steelers coach Paul Thompson says his “top players have to take ownership” when it comes to goal-scoring opportunities.

His remarks came after his first line was shut down in the 5-3 defeat at Cardiff Devils on Sunday, the club’s first serious domestic competitive game of the new season.

The team boss tried Levi Nelson, normally a winger, as centreman alongside the established pairing of Colton Fretter and Mathieu Roy.

That follows him experimenting with Tyler Mosienko and then Fredrik Vestberg, with the pair.

Thompson may now see how Jeff Legue operates with them - which would be a tremendous opportunity for the veteran forward.

The coach says he has not been critical of any of the centreman he has positioned alongside Fretter and Roy, but acknowledges the magic ingredient to unlock their undoubted potency has yet to be found.

At Cardiff, despite the defeat, he said his team had dominated for long periods, outshot the home side by a huge margin and had hit the bar three times.

But despite that, the team trailed for almost the entire Challenge Cup match.

He said “One third of that line, which was so good last year, is not there any more (Mike Forney went to Belfast Giants) so it is a question of others having to adapt.

“Our first line has to click 100% and score goals, our top players have to take ownership in normal play and on the penalty kill. And I am sure they will. Roy does his best work in the final third, Fretter likes to carry the puck so we have to find a centre who can help carry the load. I am not worried, Fretter and Roy are good players; the goals will come.”

Thompson was delighted with the Tyler Mosienko-Mike Duco-Jonathan Phillips line in Cardiff and enjoys seeing Nelson and Dowd playing on the same unit.

Steelers have the chance to put matters right with Devils in another Challenge Cup group game, at home, on Sunday.

The night before, Steelers are at Thompson’s old team, Coventry Blaze.