Sheffield Steelers admire Belfast Giants...but there is no fear factor

Steelers have a healthy respect for Belfast Giants, the team that stands between them and the EIHL title and the one that plays back-to-back games in Sheffield this weekend.

Friday, 8th April 2022, 9:51 am
Updated Friday, 8th April 2022, 11:41 am

It would be a lie if Steelers, as a club, would not want to exchange the last few months of form with the league leaders.

But respect is one thing - fear is another.

And Sheffield's camp is anything but worried about the arrival of Giants to the Arena.

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They know Giants' one-point lead at the top can soon be whittled away. Two regulation home wins would see Sheffield three points clear- and probably unstoppable in the hunt for the main silverware.

Steelers are comfortable enough in their own abilities to feel free to commend Adam Keefe's achievements, without any sense of inferiority.

Sheffield asst coach Carter Beston-Will applauds the achievements of Belfast's goaltender Tyler Beskorowany and top line of David Goodwin, JJ Piccinich and Scott Conway.

Beskorowany is "an awesome goaltender, he has been very steady, solid, and consistent for them all year long," he said.

Steelers at Belfast.

Winger Piccinich is the league's top goal and points scorer at 25 years old and in his first season in the UK.

He and 26-year-old Conway can skate at a pace that unsettles defences.

While Goodwin, who can play at centre or wing, "is a grafter, he battles in the corner, he goes to the dirty areas, and is a playmaker as well" says Beston-Will.

"They have built some chemistry there, when you get in the groove with a couple of guys it helps, they have been steady and consistent all year long."

Martin Latal.

He said it would be a question of "being aware" when their top line is on the Arena pad.

Martin Latal, a Steelers' winger who can outskate anybody in the division, readily acknowledges: "I like the way they play, they are a young, fast, skilled team but we have proved we can beat them, with our experience. We just have to battle. I strongly believe we can do it.

"I think we are ready mentally and physically, I just hope we can win both."

Wednesday's big win over Manchester Storm was a huge confidence-booster, said the Czech flyer.

Brandon Whistle scores at Belfast.

Beston-Will says his team will not deviate from their style and systems but said there would be a detailed pre-game look at their opponents.

He pointed out that his second-placed team had played Belfast three times winning two of those games 7-1 and 5-2.

Sheffield will have Rok Stojanovic as starting goaltender and it will be interesting to see if Barry Brust, who has suffered a bout of illness, will be available to take his place on the bench.

In a sport where over-the-top hype is common place, this weekend genuinely has the hallmarks of being a season-defining moment for both clubs.

By 11am Friday, Sheffield Arena had sold 12,500 tickets for the games, roughly evenly split between Saturday and Sunday.