John Armstrong is making up for lost time.
The centreman smashed home a hat-trick in Sheffield Steelers’ 6-1 win at Coventry Blaze last Sunday adding to the three he’d scored in the previous two matches.
Suddenly, the 28-year-old Canadian is the man who fans’ eyes are glued to when the puck goes near him. “He is in fabulous form” says coach Paul Thompson.
“When players start University, at the same as playing, you sort of lose them for a bit - the Uni has then running around doing all sorts. But he is now in a rhythm and you can see the results.”
The former AHL forward failed to find the net in his first five League games, but banged in two at Fife Flyers on October 23 and hasn’t looked back since.
He is only a point behind the joint three leading League scorers at Sheffield, Jesse Schultz, Andreas Valdix and Mathieu Roy.
His contribution has been one of the reasons that Sheffield have gone into third place in the table, with games in hand over the leaders, Nottingham and Cardiff and everybody below them, too.
Steelers travel to Edinburgh on Saturday. They then drive 65 miles north to take on Dundee on Sunday.
They will be without defenceman Zack Fitzgerald banned for two games for an assault on Coventry Blaze goaltender Brian Stewart, last Saturday at the Arena.
The Elite League Player Safety unit said the American’s initial point of contact was to the head or neck area and was “a dangerous, reckless play, which resulted in an injury.”
Before the ban, Fitzgerald had talked about the importance of the two games north of the border. “We need to take the Scottish games” he commented.
“We go to another Conference and those are the points we don’t want to give up.”
He said the Erhardt Confernce “was tight and teams would take points off each other. Those Scottish games are huge. They are kind of extra points you can get! We only play them four times a year so to get those points are really important.”