The old pal’s act means nothing to Sheffield Steelers’ Ben!

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Ben O’Connor - he’s the young, flair skater who plays with a smile on his face.

Yet the 26-year-old Sheffield Steeler showed a ruthless streak when he clashed with none other than his old team-mate and buddy Michael Forney, last weekend.

O’Connor and the Belfast Giants forward exchanged blows at Sheffield Arena - a novel experience as neither skater are known for their rough-stuff.

“It is part of the game, isn’t it? There are no friends on the ice” he explained.

“Things happen..gets heated and it just boiled over.

“I received a cross-check to the back, pretty hard and it wasn’t nice.

Ben O Connor - Sheffield Steelers' new enforcer!

Ben O Connor - Sheffield Steelers' new enforcer!

“So I turned around and received another cross check. I thought I am not going to get punched first so I’ll take it into my own hands, I guess.”

O’Connor isn’t one to bear grudges though, it was a case of “handshakes at the end and you leave it on the ice, that’s the way it is.”

The GB-man is more concerned with extending Steelers’ unbeaten run - it currently stands at four matches after a period of results which lacked consistency.

“Every team has the blip, the little down-fall in the year. We just had our down a bit earlier than everyone else.

“Cardiff lost four games on the bounce a couple of weeks back. Every team has their ups and downs and I think we are on the right track and on the way up again.

“It is a great league this year, everyone is beating everyone.

“There is not a bad team in the league. You have to keep your eye on the prize and keep focused and work hard every day.”

O’Connor continues to learn his craft, helped in every match by the likes of Rod Sarich and Russ Moyer. “No-one gets by Rod; he hits like a machine. He is a rock for us back there and that’s what we need.”

O’Connor said he looked up to him as a younger d-man. “I think our D corps this year is fantastic. As a d-man you are still young at 26, you can always learn and get better. Someone like Rod and Russ, those older guys, you take note what they do and learn from it.”

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