Moose can backstop Steelers to title joy

Shut-outs: Man of mystery Ervins Mustukovs.             Picture: Rik Raynor
Shut-outs: Man of mystery Ervins Mustukovs. Picture: Rik Raynor
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HE’S quiet, complicated and unorthodox - and the man that could give Sheffield Steelers the edge when the destination of the Elite League title is decided this weekend.

Defenceman Kevin Bolibruck is referring to Latvian goaltender and all-round man of mystery, Ervins Mustukovs.

Few people have managed to get a handle on the blond-haired dark-horse who has chalked-up shut-outs galore for the Elite League leaders.

Bolibruck accepts there is little to choose between Steelers and other contenders Cardiff Devils and Belfast Giants, both of whom have excellent goaltending of their own.

But, says Bolbruck: “They are good teams, but if we have an edge over them I would think it was ‘Moose.’

“He has had a really good year and been the strength behind the team for the most part.

“He’s been able to give us a chance to win with some of his saves and gives the team confidence.”

The Canadian said the 26-year-old netminder’s previous career in the Russian KHL League had forged his style and ruthless efficiency.

“His resume proves he must have faced some pretty good shooters. They practice like mad men over there - it’s crazy, it seems they train a couple of times a day and hockey is the only thing that matters.

“While it may not have gone the way he wanted it to when he played in the East Coast League, (Elmira Jackals and Toledo Storm) he came over here with a lot of experience and quality.

“To be honest, I don’t know what makes him tick, he is quiet and keeps himself to himself.”

Bolibruck, meanwhile, may be playing his last few games for the would-be champions.

Asked about his future he said: “I don’t know, it’s up in the air. I finish at school (MBA) this year and I have told my wife that when I did I’d be ready to go home. We’d have to talk about it, but I’d not be opposed to coming back.”

Sheffield travel to Braehead Clan tonight before hosting the same side tomorrow. The timing of the game has been moved to 6pm, along with those for the Coventry Blaze v Belfast Giants and Edinburgh Capitals v Cardiff Devils games. Two wins will seal the championship for Steelers.

READER’S LETTER: I, for one, will not be renewing my Steelers’ season ticket for the new season! The price hike is disgusting. I am an OAP and it has gone up by £25. I refuse to renew my membership and like a lot more people, I will go and watch Steeldogs instead and just go to games I choose. If Mr Ragan can justify the reason for this price rise, let’s hear it! I was not very happy with last season’s price of £195 but, there’s no chance of me paying £25 on top of that! It’s my Golden Wedding anniversary in June, so I would rather spend it celebrating that! Cheers Mr Ragan!

Mrs Margaret Bearman, Sheffield S2.