Sheffield Steelers duo vital to overcoming Nottingham Panthers

Andreas Valdix
Andreas Valdix
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When the end-of-season awards are dished out to Sheffield Steelers players, expect to see Andreas Valdix and Colton Fretter among the gongs.

Fretter has defied a lot of people’s expectations - except his own coach - by the way he has recovered from last year’s career-threatening injury and held down a first-line role.

Valdix has followed in the footsteps of fellow Swede Fredrik Vestberg by marking himself out as a reliable, creative and forceful centreman.

Both these players scored in Steelers’ 2-1 first-leg Challenge Cup win at Nottingham Panthers on January 25 - and their input will be critical tonight when the pair go again in the second round of the semi-final.

When injury robbed the team of Valdix, Rob Dowd and Lev Nelson were sometimes off-colour. When he’s back, the Steelers win games.

Fretter displaced Jesse Schultz from the top line and has stayed there since.

A Steelers spokesman said: “Both these forwards are a credit to the club and we will need them to overcome Nottingham, who will have a rested goaltender and will do everything to dismantle the one-goal lead we have.

“Our goalie, Moose (Ervins Mustukovs) chalked up his first shutout on Sunday - he could have had two or three this season - and he will be critical to us trying to win this trophy.”

Zack Fitzgeraldi s likely to return after recovering from injury.