How Sheffield Steelers’ defensive special teams win games

Sheffield Steelers defending in depth
Sheffield Steelers defending in depth
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Sheffield Steelers have returned to form, having banked four consecutive wins.

Gerad Adams, the coach, has team work, individual play, a sense of comraderie and strong goaltending from new boy Josh Unice to thank for seeing the club surge into third place in the Elite League table.

But another significant reason for the upturn in form could be put down to the club’s incredibly efficient penalty kill.

The last power-play goal scored against the Steelers was back in the 13th minute of the game against Coventry at the SKY Dome arena on Sunday 11th January (Ben Arnt.)

Since then the Steelers have played seven games and have killed 26 opposition power-plays without conceding a goal.

That hints at good organisation, a willingness to block pucks, and a defence where forwards are as important as the blue liners.

“I guess by talking about it we will be putting the kiss of death on it” said Adams.

“There are many reasons we have killed so well, the first being that the whole team has committed to team defence. They have killed with energy and have played smart.

“They have closed the shooting lanes down very well and also kept the opposition to the outside limiting chances.

“The commitment to blocking shots has been immense, you just have to look at the bruises on the guys’ bodies to see that.

“They say that your best penalty killer is your goalie and both Frank (Doyle) and Josh have been just that recently.”

To beat Nottingham Panthers on Saturday - a key event if this resurgence is to be maintained, the PK has to be just as good again.

“Nottingham have a history of a great power-play” said Adams. “We will need to be at our best when they get chances. Discipline will be important, trying to limit the power-play chances they have and then being aggressive on the kill.”