Praise from Sheffield Steelers coach Aaron Fox for young gun Alex Graham after win over Coventry Blaze
Steelers' coach Aaron Fox says young gun Alex Graham is starting to live up to his potential in a Sheffield shirt.
But the 18-year-old player, who has filled out in the last few months, needs to speed up to ensure he'll get even more ice time.
Fox said the 6-4 win over Coventry Blaze on Tuesday night was the strapping Dronfield winger's best game so far, in the 2021 EIHL Series tournament.
"The first weekend I felt that he was definitely a step behind the pace...and he wasn't where he needed to be defensively at times" said Fox.
"But I think he has been better. I don't know exactly what his ice time (against Coventry) was but I am assuming it is a few minutes more than he played on Sunday. He was going a little bit more so I could use him more.
"I think Alex has a lot of potential, the only thing that is holding him back is his skating and we have just got to find a way to get him playing with a bit more pace."
If Sheffield manage to improve his game, they hope he will have a similar impact as Liam Kirk who has been a key factor in top of the league Steelers' form.
Kirk is a player who fires the puck at will - with positive effect.
"He is a shoot-first guy, when you have got a wrister like he does, you may as well use it, that's for sure" said the coach.
"I don't want him to be a pass-first player, he has got a great shot so it is good to see him shooting as much as he can."
Fox believes that the team's errors in the first period on Tuesday, when they went 0-2 behind, could have been down to the schedule and the fact there had been no ice available the day before Tuesday's win.
"Most of those mistakes were mental more than physical though, bad decision-making. But we did find our game though."
Sheffield had a lot of success in tipping in shots.
"I love to have D that are looking for blades and active sticks" said Fox.
"Our forwards get to the hard areas and if you have defencemen who play with their heads up you are going to get those types of tips-in."
Steelers will be without John Muse in goal again this weekend.
He is yet to go on the ice and is receiving treatment every day on his muscle injury.