Sheffield Steelers: All about confidence as Steelers look to up goals-per-shots ratio

Ice hockey is a simple game - it's about putting the puck in the net.

Wednesday, 2nd October 2019, 12:52 pm
Updated Wednesday, 2nd October 2019, 5:50 pm
John Armstrong around the net against Manchester

Sheffield Steelers had 88 chances to do just that in their last two games - and managed to be successful just four times across two defeats.

The lack of goals-per-shots was an obvious factor in why they lost to Manchester Storm and Cardiff Devils last weekend, and have generally failed to find consistency on both League and Challenge Cup platforms.

Centre John Armstrong believes confidence has a big part to play.

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And he believes the squad will address their offensive short-comings as the season progresses.

Sheffield have split the first 10 games 50-50 in terms of results, and Armstrong admits that ratio is not acceptable in a club that is desperate to get back on the title trail.

"It is not good enough. We are not going to be a '500' team, we have to be better than that, I think everybody knows that," said the Canadian.

He says that while it is still early in the season, he feels the team showed enough quality at times in Sunday's defeat to Cardiff - one of the best teams in the EIHL for the past few years - to have got a result.

"It felt like a play-off game. That's how it is in this League.

"We have got to finish our chances. With goalscorers no-one is going to be scoring every game, guys are streaky, so have got to get a couple of guys get confident and start putting pucks in the net. And I think we will be fine," said Armstrong.

"There are obviously things we have to work on but we have been working on those things" said the forward.

"Early on in the year, I think we were making some stupid plays, maybe really aggressive plays, where we just needed to keep it a lot more simple, lately we have been doing that, we have just got to put the puck in the net."

The provision of goals via the Power Play needs improving - the club is currently only chalking up an 11.67 per cent success rate, compared to a penalty kill of 81.48 per cent.

Several Steeler players may be hoping for confidence-boosting goals this weekend.

The team's top scorer, currently, is Marc-Olivier Vallerand, followed by Robert Dowd and Tanner Eberle.

Steelers, forced back into the player-market after injuries to Jonas Liwing and Aaron Johnson, have signed 31-year-old Czech skater, Marek Tronciňský.

The 6ft 1ins defenceman played five games for HC Litvinov in the Czech Extraliga before accepting the EIHL deal.

While he is regarded as injury cover, an impressive performance could see him stay on at Sheffield.

Coach Aaron Fox said: "“He can play a physical gritty defensive game and also skates well and has some offensive upside.

“He should help us in all situations and felt like he was the best overall d-man that had been offered. I’m looking forward to getting him this week and ready for the weekend."

Tronciňský had a spell in the Russian KHL a few years ago and has contributed in points wherever he has played.

*Sheffield Steeldogs have two fixtures this coming weekend, they travel to Milton Keynes on Saturday, hosting Basingstoke Bison on Sunday (4.30.)