Stand by for a goal or two from Sheffield Steelers’ Colton Fretter

Colton Fretter

Colton Fretter

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Paul Thompson believes Colton Fretter is about to show the same, ruthless goal-scoring edge that Jesse Schultz and Mathieu Roy have exhibited recently.

And with two Challenge Cup games this weekend, at Coventry Blaze and then at home to Nottingham Panthers, the stage is set for the Canadian to get off the mark this season, for Sheffield Steelers.

Last week, Thompson changed strategies by moving Schultz on to the top line with Mathieu Roy and John Armstrong and switching Fretter to play with Tyler Mosienko and Guillaume Desbiens. Schultz immediately found his touch and banged in a hat-trick against Red Bull Salzburg.

Coach Thompson won’t be tinkering with the line that delivered so emphatically. And he loves the fact that there is competition for places on the power play, penalty kill and for general ice time.

“Competition keeps everybody on their toes” he said. “The decision we came to about moving Schultzy wasn’t just about Schultzy. Frets was playing well but not getting the scoring. He’d just had the best part of a year off with injury and wasn’t having much luck in front of goal, even though he was working super-hard. Against Red Bull (on the Mosienko line) Frets was getting the puck down low, rolling out of corners where he is strong and looking dangerous.

“He is another goal scorer who wants to get a goal - these people are very conscientious and we’ve seen what it could do for Schultz and Mathieu Roy when they found the net this season” said Thompson.

“When goalscorers don’t score they sometimes feel it and Schultz, for one, had wanted to get a goal early on. He is the type who is very hard on himself, very self-critical.

“He wants to be the best he can be and I think he has raised his standards to the level we knew he had in him” added Thompson.

“He’d been scoring a lot in training for two weeks but needed a bounce to go right in the game, and that happened.

“I have said in a team meeting that I am happy with all of the team and now we look forward to a good test against Coventry and Nottingham.”

Three goal hero Jesse Schultz

Three goal hero Jesse Schultz

Thompson said the “feel good factor” had continued through the week in practice. “It is early in the season, but we are trying to cover as many aspects as we can to improve and maintain the high spirits” he said. “We did well all round last weekend; we were really good on the forecheck and penalty kill and the emphasis this week has been on these positive things.

Thompson thought Panthers - who visit the Arena on Sunday - did well to get two wins out of three, in three consecutive nights in Scotland. They beat Dundee and Braehead before running out of steam at Fife.

“Nottingham have a solid team who did well in a tough run of games, they have a deep bench” said the Sheffield boss.

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