Sheffield Steelers must control Kazakh ace in cup tie at Edinburgh Capitals
Sheffield Steelers aren't going to forget the first time they came up against Pavel Vorobyev.
The Kazakhstan-born forward - who played 57 NHL games for Chicago Blackhawks between 2003-2006 - scored a hat-trick against Paul Thompson’s men, when they met in the League earlier this month.
Sheffield ended the night winning on penalty shots, but they know they will have to do better tonight in closing down the 34-year-old centre, when the teams meet in the Challenge Cup quarter final first leg.
Vorobyev, who has starred in the AHL in the United States, and KHL, got two assists in Caps’ 8-2 win over Coventry Blaze last weekend and is one of several players Thompson warned his troops over, in a video presentation this week.
Referring to Vorobyev, a former Russia international, the coach said: “He’s a very talented player, look at his resume, he is huge and has super skills.”
In their first contest, he picked up on a couple of rebounds, recalled Thompson.
“Sometimes skilled players make great plays and he is one of those players that if you give them time and space, or an odd man rush, he will make something happen on it. They have got a good team, I like their team.
“If we can come away from there with a lead, I will be very, very happy. They have a couple of Russians that are super-skilled, their imports...they have a mix of everything.
“We got off to a flying start up there (in the 6-5 win), tired a little bit, we were down to four defencemen that game. We gave away a couple of goals late on and they clawed their way back.
“There is no easy game- look at Dundee, look what they are doing, they took points off the top three teams! So we have got to go there totally focused.”
Thompson will be hoping winger Levi Nelson will make as big an impact on Wednesday’s game as he did on Sunday, when he potted a superb goal against Belfast Giants.
“I spoke to Levi before the game I just said: ‘I want you to be a little more direct, be a rat, get in on the body. Levi is a skilled player, but there are times when he moves the puck backwards instead of forward, because he can bring guys into the game.
“We talked about him getting a little hungrier and meaner when he shoots the puck because he has got great shot, like he proved.
“I am pleased for him, he had a strong game.”