Steelers axe Huttel as they face bottom club

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AMERICAN Chad Huttel will be the import to taste the disappointment of being dropped by Sheffield Steelers this evening.

The club have back-to-back matches (tonight they are at home, 7pm) with bottom club Fife Flyers, who have conceded 149 goals in 28 matches and scored only 54.

While not under-estimating Fife, who have signed ex-Steelers workhorse centre Dan Ceman from Dundee, player-coach Ryan Finnerty feels that he can afford to take a defenceman out o.

The resting of Huttel means winger Neil Clark will be back on the left flank, as revealed by The Star on Tuesday.

As a first-year professional, Huttel can hardly complain, although his no-frills performances have been more than satisfactory so far this season.

He is normally reliable in getting the puck swiftly out of the defensive zone.

The Minnesota prospect, who celebrated his 23rd birthday this month, is part of a defence that Finnerty says deserves credit for being the foundation of Steelers’ assault on the league’s top places.

“We have a young defensive corps but some great contributors” he said. “Matt Stephenson has a lot of Steve Munn characteristics; while not entirely in the same mould, he certainly blocks a lot of shots.

“Chad is a first-year pro, Mark Thomas is playing a bigger role, Francis Trudel is pretty sound and so is [goalie] Johnny DeCaro. He is making first and second saves.”