Brendan Connolly not surprised by Tanner Eberle's fantastic form for Sheffield Steelers

When the Sheffield Steelers' player of the season award is up for discussion, you can put your money on Tanner Eberle making the short-list.

Tanner Eberle - saluted by his team-mates for this year's contribution
Tanner Eberle - saluted by his team-mates for this year's contribution

His form this season has been little short of remarkable.

In the last weekend of EIHL play before the international break, the ever-present forward arrived at joint top of the Steelers' scoring league and Challenge Cup charts.

His 26 goals and 30 assists allowed him to share the spotlight with Marco Vallerand on 56 points.

Eberle, who turned 26 last month, took 17 points in his last nine Sheffield games, mirroring, perhaps, the explosive late season form last year of Anthony DeLuca.

In fact, in the 2018-19 season Eberle managed a modest nine (league-only) goals - he has more than doubled that number already.

Team-mate Brendan Connolly, who currently leads the league-only points scoring pile with 23+26, doesn't seem surprised by Eberle's form in his second year at the South Yorkshire club.

"'Ebs' is one of those guys, you now what you are going to get from him," said the newly-established Great Britain player.

"He's always going to give you 100 per cent, he's going to win battles.

"He is going to compete.

"I feel at this level, especially in the Elite League, if you are a hard working guy and you skate and you don't take a shift off, you are going to be rewarded with a lot of scoring chances. You are going to get some open ice.

"And this year he has been able to take advantage of those opportunities," said Connolly.

Eberle easily leads the league-wide table in the statistics that matter- the "plus minus" column.

A player is awarded a "plus" each time he is on the ice when his team scores an even-strength or shorthanded goal. He receives a "minus" if he is on the ice for an even-strength or shorthanded goal scored by his opponents.

The Canadian No 10 is merited at astonishing eleven points ahead of his team-mate Marek Troncinsky and British winger Ross Venus, who is having a memorable season at Coventry Blaze.

Three other Steelers are in the top ten in league plus minuses - defenceman Aaron Brocklehurst and wingers Anthony DeLuca and Nikolay Lemtyugov.

Steelers are now focusing on this weekend's return to league play against Dundee Stars (home) and Fife Flyers (away.)