Bob Westerdale: When losing can trigger something good for Sheffield Steelers

When Sheffield Steelers lose, a comparative rarity in itself this season, one thing is almost certain: they are not going to lose their next game.

Friday, 28th January 2022, 11:37 am

The EIHL club seems to take defeat as a personal affront and usually put matters right the next time they hit the ice.

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Sheffield Steelers 3-2 Glasgow Clan (OT): Sam Jones credits Steelers' goalie for...

In November, they lost to Cardiff, went abroad to play in the Continental Cup, and returned to face another defeat, to Nottingham Panthers, in the Challenge Cup.

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But that's the only time in 39 games something like that has happened.

They've not lost two straight League matches, so far.

Steelers ended a nine-match winning streak with defeat at Dundee Stars last Sunday but returned home to beat Glasgow Clan on Wednesday.

"One thing that has been good is we've bounced back after losses, all year long," says coach Aaron Fox.

Justin Hodgman game winner Pic Dean Woolley.

"I don't think we have followed up a loss with another one yet, this year so, that is why the big bounce-back against Glasgow was important. Hopefully, it starts another healthy streak of winning."

Sheffield hope to do that at Fife Flyers' expense, home and away this weekend.

Norwegian defenceman Adrian Saxrud-Danielsen should be back after injury.

Fox said: "I am very hopeful to have him on Saturday. He's a big physical guy, skates well, plays hard. In retrospect, you are always going to miss a guy like that when he is out of our line up.

Sam Jones and Keaton Ellerby. Photo: Bob Westerdale.

"But what it has done is given Sam Jones a lot more ice time and Sam has flourished.

"Early on in the year, when we had Saxy, we kept Evan Mosey back as a 'D' and had Sam as our seventh (defenceman) and kind of mixed him in.

"But now he is playing a regular shift, 16-20 minutes a night, he has really come into his own. It has been great for Sam to have that extra ice time."

Jones' form means Fox can now deploy Mosey up front.

Adrian Saxrud-Danielsen celebrates with the bench. Photo: Dean Woolley.

Jones says that would be a huge boost for the team, as would the return of the Scandinavian.

"Saxy is an all-round player, some think of him as a stay-at-home guy some think he's an offensive guy - he is the perfect mix," said the 24-year-old.

"He is big, he plays the body, is strong defensively. But he also likes to get involved in the rush. He has got speed, for his size.

"It means we also have the benefit of throwing Mosey up front too, which is massive for us."

Jones is probably one of the few Steelers to relish the trip to Fife on Sunday. He played at Kirkcaldy in 2019-20.

"I have a lot of people in Fife that I got very close to. It's good to go back and I'm looking forward to seeing them before and after the game.

"I enjoyed playing in that rink, met great people. There is some sentiment there but at the end of the day, we are going up there to win. That's the only thing that is on my mind."