Sheffield Steelers' goal leaks must dry up

Ben O'Connor doesn't need to be told that conceding goals is bad for a team's health.

Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 6:49 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th October 2016, 3:39 pm
Ben O'Connor's Saturday night man of the match celebration

The Sheffield Steelers defence has shipped in 21 goals in the last five games - a win three lose two period.

“It is not good when you are letting in four or give goals every night. No one wants that” says the super-skilled defenceman who scored five points last weekend. But defence is a team’s not just six d-men out there, it’s the whole team.

Ben O'Connor's Saturday night man of the match celebration

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“We have got to come back hard.”

Steelers visit Braehead Clan on Friday before the receiving their first visit of the season from Belfast Giants.

“Belfast have got a good team, they are always up there” said Great Britain regular O’Connor, 27, who is in his third season with the club.

“We are always going to be battling with them.”

Ben O'Connor's Saturday night man of the match celebration

Belfast have won their last three away games and the defenceman said: “Home or away they are as good team.

“They are fast, Derek Walser has put together a good team, they have definitely strengthened compared to last year. We have just got to wait and see.”

Giants last three games have gone past the 60-minute mark, two overtime losses and a penalty shot win.

First, though, Steelers have to contain the wounded animal that is Braehead Clan - they have just two points from five league games so far. Frustrated coach Ryan Finnerty implied that the referee’s punishment of his players decided the game at Sheffield Arena last Saturday.

“It would have been nice for the guys to decide the game” he said.

“We had every chance to win that game. But we grew from it and learned a bit more about ourselves. When we play up to our level we are very good.”

He has likened his forward Matt Beca to former Steeler Joey Talbot, whom he played with under Dave Matsos in the 2007-08 Sheffield campaign.