Sheffield Steelers are even quicker with Matias Sointu

Matias Sointu hopes to add yet more speed and agility to the super-quick Steelers' line up.

Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 9:27 am

The 31 year old Finnish forward was recruited by coach Aaron Fox after Travis Oleksuk opted to take up an opportunity in Austria, after eight Sheffield games.

It's not a like-for-like swap of personnel.

Oleksuk was a face-off-winning centreman while Sointu's game is about speed down the flanks.

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Asked what he hopes to bring to the line up in his first EIHL season, Sointu replied: "I have always been a good skater and two-way player so I can bring offence and defence and play in different situations.

"But most of all my skating has been my number one thing so I will try and bring some speed to the team."

Sointu said he only arrived in Sheffield last Thursday evening and had just one practice before taking on Nottingham Panthers and then Fife Flyers, matches which harvested an overtime point away and a win at home.

"It was good to get a win and get to know players," he said.

"It looks like a great group of guys in the dressing room and we are playing good hockey I think.

"I feel the league is getting better I was here a couple of years ago but it is better than last time," he said, referencing his short stint at Cardiff Devils.

He said it was "awesome" to play in front of the paying public again, after the coronavirus lockdown.

Fox said Sointu was "definitely not a face-off specialist.”

Matieu Sointu, pic by Dean Woolley

"But I like his game, he is a reliable, two-way player...he will probably bring a little more creative offence to our group.

"Obviously, you lose a high-end face-off guy like that (Oleksuk) you are going to lose something a little bit that's for sure but I feel like Army (John Armstrong) was playing wing and wasn't taking a lot of draws and he is over 50 per cent in the league as well so you are not at a huge disadvantage there."

Sheffield entertain Coventry Blaze for the first time this season at the Arena on Wednesday night.

Fox described the Midlands side as "a good hockey team.”

Matieu Sointu in practice pic by Bob Westerdale

He added: “I think every team in this league can play and I am expecting a tight, 60-minute battle, they will come in ready to go and we will match that."

Oleksuk was Steelers' top face-off winner, followed by Justin Hodgman, Armstrong and Brendan Connolly.

Meanwhile, Steeler/Steeldogs/Steelhawks players Alex Graham, Nathan Ripley, Alex Oldale, Henry Adams and Tom Palmer have been named in the Great Britain U20 squad for the world Championships in Romania, December 13-19.

They will face hosts Romania, as well as Italy, Korea, Lithuania and Spain for their first tournament since winning the silver medal in Vilnius in January last year.

Mathieu Sointu battles for the puck, pic by Dean Woolley