On form forward says Sheffield Steelers' success starts with goalie Greenfield

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Mikko Juusola knows successful ice hockey teams depend on quality goaltending.

And the Finnish star of Sheffield Steelers' 5-0 win over Fife Flyers last Sunday says netminder Matt Greenfield would be a shine in some of the best divisions in Europe.

Sheffield were quick to re-sign Greenfield at the start of the Summer, tying him in for his second EIHL campaign.

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Greenfield has illustrated his renewed commitment with a shut out in pre-season against Cardiff Devils, a 57-minute clean sheet against Nottingham Panthers, another full shut out against Dundee Stars, and last Sunday's blanking of Fife.

Matthew Greenfield shut out v Dundee Stars Pic Dean WoolleyMatthew Greenfield shut out v Dundee Stars Pic Dean Woolley
Matthew Greenfield shut out v Dundee Stars Pic Dean Woolley

Not surprisingly 'Greener' has the best goals-against average in the EIHL and in both competitions has a 94.42 save average.

Juusola who joined Sheffield from Czech side HC Energie Karlovy Vary after 75 games in his own nation's top-flight, said: "I think he can be in every league I have played, or even more, he has been very good and it is not fun to play against him in practice!"

Steelers have won ten out of 11 games in League and Challenge Cup action.

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They have chalked up some big scores including 6-0, 6-1, and Sunday's 5-0.

Mikko Jussola  with a split gum after  Fife game pic Dean WoolleyMikko Jussola  with a split gum after  Fife game pic Dean Woolley
Mikko Jussola with a split gum after Fife game pic Dean Woolley

But Juusola, whose signing was unveiled in mid-August, hasn't been taken aback by the margin of some wins.

"When I saw who the players are in my team...I know we have a very good team and we have played good" he says.

Having now scored four goals and six assists, he is happy to be finding the net himself.

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He said he'd been receiving opportunities in the offensive zone: "Sometimes it goes in sometimes not."

And while he is enjoying his recent switch on to the Patrick Watling and Josh Nicholls line, he says: "They are very good players, both, but I think the whole team has good players so it's not so important who you play with.

"But it is fun to play with them."

The 25-year-old forward potentially had the most challenging transition to make of the new squad members coming to the Elite League, both in terms of a different brand of hockey but also embracing the language and culture.

Yet he says: "I think it has been pretty easy, guys are very very nice and help a lot and I don't think it has been so difficult"Niklas Nevalianen has helped me a lot - every guy has been very helpful."

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The side will be hosting Nottingham Panthers for the first time in the Challenge Cup this season, on Saturday, having already beaten them twice away from home in the competition.

Juusola isn't expecting an easy ride.

"I think they have good players but maybe they have not played so good as a team."

He said he expected a competitive game against them.

*Marco Vallerand is Steelers' top points scorer with six goals and 10 assists.