Sheffield Steelers' early defensive frailties nothing to worry about...for now

Steelers may have experienced some mixed results in the early stages of their season.

Friday, 13th September 2019, 10:48 am
Updated Friday, 13th September 2019, 22:05 pm
Sheffield Steelers player-assistant coach Aaron Johnson

But the club's recently-appointed Player-Assistant Coach Aaron Johnson was not surprised by the bumps in the road which saw Sheffield win two and lose two, in the opening exchanges of the Challenge Cup and League.

Steelers, who host Manchester Storm in the Cup on Saturday night, conceded 15 goals in their first three games.

But there was evidence they were starting to tighten up at the back in last Sunday's 5-1 win at Coventry Blaze.

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The earlier goal concession had been down to the "style of play we had been playing" he admitted.

"We know we have a lot of offensive skill, but we had been thinking a little too much offensive. We have to work on our defensive play and defensive minded play."

Johnson was praised his shot-blocking bravery in the Midlands' win.

He said the team had been prepared to learn: "It is early on the season and mistakes are going to happen but we can't let them happen again."

Johnson explained: "It is a new group. A lot of new players new to the league, new to the system, new to the environment."

Under those circumstances some mistakes were going to crop up.

But he believed in the potential of the team, saying: "We definitely have the manpower, we definitely have the skill.

"It is just a matter of putting it all together."

Johnson said he had enjoyed his duties as a new assistant coach.

The task was about: "helping out when needed, doing some penalty killing (planning)..so far so good."

*Maltby's teenage hockey sensation and former Steeler Liam Kirk is among 25 "rookie camp" players invited to attend Arizona Coyotes' Veteran's Training Camp, at Gila River Arena, the NHL club's home stadium.

The Coyotes selected the Great Britain left winger as the 189th pick at last year's NHL draft.

The South Yorkshireman was the first English-born player who was entirely trained in England to be picked in the NHL Draft.

Kirk, 19, played 68 games for Peterborough Petes in the OHL last season.

*Sheffield Steeldogs are expecting a big crowd for their derby with Leeds Chiefs on Sunday at iceSheffield in a NIHL National Division opening fixture (4.30pm.)

Leeds, who have signed former Dogs Andy Hirst, from Doncaster, and Steve Duncombe, from Sheffield, must play their first 10 games on the road in their inaugural campaign as their Elland Road rink is not completed yet.