How Jeff’s goal may have turned Sheffield Steelers’ season around

Jeff Legue - Sheffield Steelers
Jeff Legue - Sheffield Steelers
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As goals go, it wasn’t particularly memorable.

Especially as the scorer, Jeff Legue, has hammered home some history-making crackers since donning the Sheffield Steelers shirt back in 2007.

But the forward’s goal three seconds from the end of Saturday’s game with Coventry Blaze may turn out to be a watershed in the season.

Steelers had been struggling and, despite monopolising the game, didn’t look like scoring. Yet the following night Steelers were rampant, notching six at Cardiff.

Jason Hewitt says: “We talk about turning points and maybe that greasy goal Leggy scored could have been it. It was a game we dominated but just couldn’t score that goal, all three lines worked their backsides off trying but it seemed the harder we tried the bigger saves Brian Stewart made.

“It was never going to be a pretty goal that won it, it was always going to be a scramble or a deflection off someone’s backside. For it to come the way it did with three seconds left showed that as a group we fight every second, we never give up and whilst Leggy scored it that goal was a reward for every single player’s hard work.

“We read the criticism of what had happened in the weeks since Christmas, we hear people taking shots at us and we see the consequences when one of our own loses his job because we are in a results business. We know that and we know this club doesn’t hang around when things are on the slide” said the GB forward.

“For sure knock us for the results but don’t dare knock us for our effort because everyone inside that room cares and everyone is putting a shift in every day.

“We needed a bit of good fortune and maybe that Legue goal was it. The day after we go to the hardest rink in the league and win 6-0, maybe the confidence we all got from that Legue goal helped subconsciously. Again on Sunday everyone was committed, we had two new guys that five days ago didn’t know where England was let alone Sheffield yet they both were stars putting their bodies on the line.”

Hewitt continued: “Rod Sarich was so ill he couldn’t walk on Saturday yet makes it to the bus on Sunday and gives us 20 hard minutes on the ice Sunday blocking shots, making hits and standing up for his team mates. Two or three weeks after damaging his lungs blocking shots in Belfast Mathieu Roy is doing the same in Cardiff. I think that shows character, the same character as Mark Thomas did fighting serious heavyweights in Cardiff, knowing he was up against it in height and weight, probably knowing he was going to get a bloody nose but doing it all the same. That’s Steeler spirit and I think it’s here today as much as it every has been.

“We have had a bad spell but we worked our way out of that spell and have two wins on the bounce now to continue to build off.

“Another four points this weekend and maybe we will shut the critics up.”

*Last night’s Elite League result: Coventry Blaze 4 Nottingham Panthers 3 (After Penalty Shootout)