Robert Dowd ensures a place in Sheffield Steelers' all-time greats after four goals at Fife Flyers
Before embarking on what turned out to be a highly-profitable trip north of the border, coach Tom Barrasso paused to reflect on the growing influence of Robert Dowd.
The GB winger had missed 12 games earlier in the season with injury and couldn't hit the target inÂ the first seven matches of his return.
Barrasso remarked to The Star that the player was now "looking good: what jumps out is how he isÂ competing hard on pucks, he is skatingÂ harder."
Fife Flyers can certainly testify to that.Â They were on the receiving end of four Dowd goals as Sheffield cruised to a 6-2 win, followingÂ Friday's 5-4 win at Glasgow Clan.Â His tally was new ground for any Steeler this year and, in the greater context, moved him above Tim Cranston to become fifth all-time club marksman.
Dowd took the praise which escorted his man of the match status with modesty:Â 'It's an honour. I've been here a long time, this is my home club and it's nice to keep moving up the list'.Â His 210 goals maybe short of Ken Priestlay, who piled in 254 - but if the 30-year-old stays healthy you wouldn't be surprised if he even eclipsed the club's most exciting ever player.
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Sheffield, with Jackson Whistle back in net in Fife, have now chalked up seven wins in nine games.Â That, finally, might start putting the wind up some of the league's frontrunners.
Dowd served early notice at Kirkcaldy with a shot which pingedÂ off the post. His sideÂ scored when Evan McGrath profited from work from Justin Buzzeo, at 23;04.
Five minutes later it was 2-0, with Dowd shooting over Shane Owen.Â And the GB winger added another with a PPÂ slapshot.
Fife didn't let them have it all their own way: Paul Crowder scored a disputed goal and bad blood saw penalties all round.Â None of this put Dowd off - he chalked up his hat-trick with six seconds left of the second session.
Whistle was beaten by aÂ Mike Cazzola tip, forÂ 2-4.Â Josh Pitt took the pressure of his team though with his fifth goal in seven games.Â And Dowd banged in his fourth after a near carbon copy of his earlier PP goal with threeÂ minutes remaining.