Former Sheffield Steelers star Jason Hewitt shows there's life in the old Dog yet

When Jason Hewitt bid farewell to Steelers on the night they won their last regular season title, Sheffield ice hockey looked like it had lost a loyal servant forever.

By Bob Westerdale
Monday, 15th March 2021, 11:48 am

‘Hewy' had played every one of the 52 games needed to secure the domestic sport's top prize.

Steelers had become only the second club to become back-to-back champions when they beat the Fife Flyers on that final day of the season, which then saw the forward drop out of the top flight to EPIHL team Hull Pirates.

Hewitt flourished in east Yorkshire, becoming Hull head coach, until the pandemic closed down the sport last year.

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But then he re-surfaced with Sheffield Steeldogs in the Government-endorsed return to play programme and his form there has seen him draft-picked by Steelers for the upcoming EIHL series.

The 37-year-old further underlined his importance to Sheffield hockey on Sunday when he scored one goal and three assists in the 5-2 home victory over Telford Tigers, which followed a 4-3 away win the night before, against the same opponents.

Telford had been neck and neck with Steeldogs but now trail four points behind with four games remaining in the seven-week series which ends at the end of this month.

Ben O'Connor, Ben Lake, Alex Graham and James Spurr scored the other goals at iceSheffield.

Jason Hewitt on the tail of Robert Lachowicz. Picture by Steve Brodie

On Saturday, the two teams played out the tightest, most competitive game of the tournament so far.

Jonathan Phillips, the on loan Steelers' captain, scored the winning goal with four minutes remaining.

His effort followed strikes from Graham, O'Connor and a power play goal from Hewitt. Liam Kirk and Lake each notched 0+2.

Former Steelers goalie Brad Day was pulled by the Telford coach with 27 seconds left but the host team couldn't find the equaliser with an extra skater.

Nathan Ripley played a vital role. Pic by Podium Prints

Summing up the successful weekend, Dogs' co-owner Roger Williams said: "Saturday was a game either team could have won but our guys really dug in to defend the lead in the final five minutes. It was a great show of commitment to winning and another great performance in goal from Jordan Lawday.

"It was also pleasing to see Nathan Ripley drop in to a regular shift whilst Ben Lake served a major penalty.

"Sunday was similar through two periods. More penalties broke up the flow but it was very even.

"We scored two in the first two minutes in the third, and ultimately controlled the game from there - although Tigers kept coming.

"Ultimately, it was two great team performances with high quality effort from everyone.

"Yes, it (the Cup) is ours to lose. Three wins for the last four games would clinch it."

*Fife Flyers, Dundee Stars, Glasgow Clan and Murrayfield Racers will share in £200,000 of Scottish Government funding intended to help spectator sports make up for lost ticket sales through the pandemic