Sheffield Steelers expect tough task against Manchester despite earlier 8-3 win

Smashing eight goals past Manchester Storm in their own rink last Saturday was a tonic for Sheffield Steelers in their first Challenge Cup game of the season.

By Bob Westerdale
Wednesday, 29th September 2021, 11:46 am

But nobody on the South Yorkshire roster is expecting an easy ride when the two teams meet again this Saturday, at Sheffield Arena (7pm.)

Head Coach Aaron Fox said: "There are no easy games in hockey, you need guys ready to come to the rink committed to play a physical game.

"We know that is what Manchester will try to do, they will come in and try to be physical with us and try to get us out of our game plan."

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Steelers' defenceman Adrian Saxrud-Danielsen will be ready for the visitors' strong-arm approach.

He was Sheffield's man of the match in the first Cup leg at Altrincham and wants his side to retain their superiority.

Asked if he was expecting a relatively comfortable passage he said: "Not at all, they are going to toughen up, for sure.

"We have to be on our 'A game' to have another win against them. We have to prepare real smart and be ready for a new team coming on Saturday."

The 29-year-old Norwegian played 16 games for Steelers in the mini-series, earlier this year.

But he said hockey felt a "completely different sport" when fans are in the building, following the pandemic lockdown.

"This is what we have been waiting for, for almost two years now. It's great to have fans back in and feel the energy and the atmosphere."

Sheffield will play their second league game of the season on Sunday, when they travel to Coventry Blaze (6pm.)

Adrian Saxrud-Danielsen pic by Dean Woolley

Saxrud-Danielsen said the first thing that was impressed on new players when they arrived in Sheffield was the overriding importance of winning the EIHL league title.

"It is something we have to work for every single game so we are going to take every game seriously."

Generally, the 6ft 3ins blue liner said that after a number of years "globetrotting" (he's played in Austria, Sweden, Denmark and Canada) he was comfortable living in England, and was getting used to the challenge of driving a vehicle on the left."

He has kept in touch with mini-series Steelers partner Jérémy Beaudry, who was "doing great" playing for HK Spišská Nová Ves in Slovakia.

Saxrud-Danielsen man of the match at Manchester