Sheffield Steelers' big guns are firing in time for Nottingham Panthers games

It's taken a while top get there, but Sheffield Steelers' Power Play is firing on all cylinders.

Friday, 2nd December 2016, 6:26 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 11:53 am
Unsung hero Markus Nilsson

The side is now the best in the Elite League at finishing off PP opportunities.

Last season’s special team efforts were one of the few areas which needing improving on, after their title-winning campaign.

Not they are generating a 23.7% success rate at home, 21.3% overall, better than any other team.

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It is evidence that coach Paul Thompson’s Summer hiring of special team specialists like Mike Ratchuk, John Armstrong, Jesse Schultz and Andreas Valdix has paid off, as have the current training-ice drills.

Now Sheffield will hope the extra offensive edge will come in handy this weekend against Nottingham Panthers - who have the best penalty kill statistics in the top division.

Offensively, Steelers have been putting up some good numbers recently, they have scored 31 goals in their last seven games.

The top line of Schultz, Armstrong and Mathieu Roy lead the way with 34, 28 and 27 points respectively in 24 games.

They - and winger Colton Fretter and defencemen Ben O’Connor - are perhaps regarded as the team’s thoroughbreds, in attacking terms.

But Thompson is always quick to highlight the work of players in less high-profile roles.

Markus Nilsson has only scored twice so far from 24 games, mainly on the fourth line, but his 12 assists have proved his value.

“Markus gets his ice time on the penalty kill and on the Power Play, at the moment” said the coach.

“He could play on the first line because wherever he is, he does a good job.

“I like his energy and work-rate and he is improving all the time.

“He will be the first to accept he is not a natural scorer but when he’s played with creative players then he gets points.”

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