A new shooting directive for Andreas Valdix was behind his stunning strike in Sheffield Steelers’ 7-5 win over Nottingham Panthers.
The Swedish centre, who was seen as a direct replacement for countryman Fredrick Vestberg, rattled in sensational shot from the left boards on Sunday. It was his first goal-reward of the season and came after a one-to-one session with Paul Thompson where he was instructed to bang in more efforts.
The coach believes that his line with Rob Dowd and Levi Nelson sometimes try too hard. “That line can over play, we wanted him (Valdix) to shoot the puck more; he has got a great release. A howitzer! The (Panthers) goalie just wasn’t ready for it. We’d had one-to-ones last week and we said: ‘In your head, we want five shots a game from you. Get that in your head before the game before you come out.’ I thought he had his best game so far for us.”
Thompson said Valdix , 31, contributed in similar ways to Vestberg: “Really smart defensively, really good on the puck, he can take the puck from end to end.”
The coach thought his side were outstanding offensively and that the five goals from Nottingham had flattered them.
“But we were a little loose in our own end...puck watching, drifting, going into areas where we can’t protect the net, and they had three tap-ins, we know we have to be better. We weren’t tight. But we scored some fantastic goals and were dominant.”
Thompson admitted to being annoyed by Nottingham’s fifth goal and admitted their fourth had been a save that Ervins Mustukovs would normally save. “Moose is a great goalie for us I won’t say it was his best night, he’d probably be the first to admit that. But we did enough to win; the boys scored seven goals in front of him and there will be times this season he will be the difference for us.”
Overall, Thompson said: “Any time you have scored seven goals past these guys, you’ve had a good night.
“We made a very good team look a little ragged at times.”