Anthony DeLuca back for Sheffield Steelers as league run-in resumes

Anthony DeLuca - Sheffeld Steelers' human dynamo - will be generating his all-action style back on the first line against Dundee Stars on Saturday night.

Friday, 14th February 2020, 12:26 pm
Updated Tuesday, 10th March 2020, 9:55 am
Anthony Deluca thanks Brendan Connolly for assisting on one of his goals.

The winger has missed his team's last seven games after crashing his leg into the boards at Glasgow Clan a month ago.

But he has recovered and will join Brendan Connolly and Marco Vallerand on the first formation for the EIHL game, the first of 12 matches in the run-in towards the regular season title.

That means the second line will be John Armstrong centring Nikolay Lemtygov and Tanner Eberle, as top-of-the-table Steelers attempt to keep their rivals at bay.

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It also means that Sheffield will have every import available to them - a novelty in this injury-laden campaign.

The only absences will be injured Robert Dowd and Ben O'Connor, who begins a two-game suspension.

Coach Aaron Fox said: "Anthony is totally in the clear from injury. He has had five skates under his belt and looked good in every one of them, there has been no step-back for him.

"There is no reason why he should not be at 100 per cent."

Fox has not been as fortunate when it comes to finding a back-up import goaltender.

With Tomas Duba recognised as the only Elite-quality netminder on the books, the team boss has been checking on other imports who would effectively be prepared to come in and sit out games.

"We are running out of time to find a goalie, it is not a great market trying to find someone who would sit in the stands unless Duba was injured.

"There are a couple of options that we are exploring, but we are not looking for someone who will come in and directly compete with Duba for the starting spot."

Meanwhile, Fox was among the TV audience who watched Great Britain's ultimately unsuccessful Olympic qualification bid, last weekend.

The coach said he thought the tournament displays "looked good and bad at times" but that GB deserved better than the crucial defeat to Hungary.

He was pleased with the performances of all the Steeler competitors, adding that Connolly had been a "difference-maker" to Pete Russell's side.

However the absence of Dowd and pacey, former Steeler Liam Kirk had been costly, he added.