Steelers chief seeks more from star Ben!

Ben O'Connor
Ben O'Connor
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Ben O’Connor, one of the most exciting defenceman in British ice hockey, has been asked to modify his game to make an even bigger contribution to Sheffield Steelers’ cause.

There is no finer sight than O’Connor stick-handling his way down the ice to set up an attack on the opponent’s goal.

But, occasionally, that rush can present a defensive risk, if he or a team-mate loses the puck.

His coach Paul Thompson explained: “We have asked Ben to change his game and adapt - we know offensively he is good but defensively he is really looking the part now.

“Ben controls the game. He can make those exciting plays and moves pucks up but what I liked when we were 7-1 up against Cardiff Devils last Sunday was that our d was not pinching...it wasn’t looking to go forward.

“Ben got up the ice to their blue line, made a really good, smart dump which generated the next wave of offence. He didn’t take himself in front of the puck. We are just delighted with the way he’s adapting.”

Thompson is also blessed by the recent performances of veteran Rod Sarich.

“A big mention has to go to Rod,” the coach said.

“I think he has been unbelievable. He is the ice man out there. He makes the plays, he likes the system, I think it suits his style.

“I am not looking for him to go end-to-end, those days have gone. I am looking for him to break plays up, jump in the rush as the fourth man, and make good decisions to get pucks into the hands of our forwards, early.

“When the forwards get the puck early, well you could see what they can do, against Cardiff.

“Rod is outstanding, a quality individual. He comes in, in super shape, he is really focused, he asks lots of questions.

“It is tough to single anybody out when you have won 4-0 away and 8-1 at home as we did last weekend, but when we play as a team like we did last weekend we are going to be a tough nut to crack.”