Robert Dowd's versatility praised by Sheffield Steelers coach Aaron Fox

Robert Dowd might be deployed to fulfil more centreman duties if Sheffield Steelers struggle to get injured players back in the line up.

By Bob Westerdale
Tuesday, 2nd November 2021, 12:07 pm

With Brendan Connolly and John Armstrong out last weekend, and with departed face off winner Travis Oleksuk out of the picture, the winger found himself with new responsibilites in Saturday's home win over Manchester Storm.

"Robert Dowd was unbelievable on the face off dot" said coach Aaron Fox.

"I bet he was at 80 per cent (win rate) and he's not even a centre, so we might look at that moving forward. Maybe he can come in and alleviate some of the issues there."

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Versatility is clearly something that Fox may have to depend on, with games coming thick and fast.

Steelers host Fife Flyers on Wednesday night.

Fox said he was pleased that "everyone can pay with everyone" on line formations and players like Dowd, Tanner Eberle and Evan Mosey can switch around to suit team needs.

The side has also been showing resilient conditioning levels during the hectic period.

Versatile Robert Dowd: pic by Hayley Roberts

"Guys come in work hard, they are professionals we have a good back office staff who make sure we are on top of it as well" said the coach.

Fox wrote in last weekend's match night programme that he was "still working to find the best power play and line up combinations" - but that is clearly on hold with five of the squad's forwards in need of being patched up.

Of those injured, Armstrong and defenceman Keaton Ellerby are said to be most likely to return against Fife.

Meanwhile, last weekend's two wins have cemented Dowd's linemate Marco Vallerand as the team's top points scorer.

John Armstrong faces off Pic Dean Woolley

His two goals and one assist against Storm means he has nine goals and nine assists in 13 games. Seven of his points came in the last four games.

Dowd and Justin Hodgman are next in the points pecking order with 14 apiece.

Hodgman is the team's top assists scorer.

Goaltending save statistics show Rok Stojanovic at 92.11 per cent and Barry Brust at 87.10 per cent.

Confrontation: Steelers v Fife

Fife will arrive in Sheffield on Wednesday aiming to do better than their October 24 appearance there when they were beaten 5-2.

Shane Owen was "outstanding" in the Flyers' net that night, according to Fox.

However, the Scots have only one victory from five league attempts and are effectively bottom of the league, given the fact Glasgow Clan, beneath them, have yet to play.

Sheffield, having already slipped up at home in the league to Guildford Flames and Coventry Blaze, cannot continue to forfeit points against teams not expected to end up in the top three positions.