Sheffield Steelers: Game of patience for youngster Kieran Brown
Kieran Brown will have to be patient if he is going to get his chance to fully burst on the scene for Sheffield Steelers.
The 18-year-old has only iced three times out of eight opportunities so far for the Elite League club.
There have been so many games that threatened to be ultra-competitive or have gone down to the wire that coach Aaron Fox has not been able to deploy him as much as he'd have liked.
The coach has preferred not to use a full fourth line, but depend on his regulars.
Fox told The Star: "As I have said from day one, I am not one of those coaches who is going to put a guy on the bench if I can't guarantee ice time."
The coach had hoped for more opportunities for Brown when he selected him Saturday against Guildford Flames.
But such was the nature of the keenly-fought contest, that Fox had to rely on his regulars.
Fox says that for Brown to go on and play 20 minutes for Sheffield Steeldogs the following night did the forward more good than getting little or no time against a "bigger and heavier team" in Glasgow Clan.
Icing for Steeldogs gives Brown the opportunity to become a better professional player and one "we'll be able to use down the line.
"I do believe there will be nights when we get some use out of him but with how tight games have been it's hard to find that ice," said Fox.
On Sunday, Steelers host Cardiff Devils for the first time this season.
Fox believes it will likely be his team's biggest challenge so far.
But he added: "I have come to find now that every night is a test and it really doesn't matter who you play, you have got to be ready.
"Anybody who comes into this building, or wherever we go, they are going to be ready to go.
"So there are no easy nights. Obviously, Cardiff was one of the team we were trying to close the gap on. They are a good hockey team I have watched a couple of games now and they are big and heavy. It will be a really good test for us."
As for Devils' recent form dip, Fox commented: "Anyone can win in any building any night."
He said Cardiff experienced a similar game at home to Coventry Blaze last weekend as Steelers did on Sunday to Clan, where they heavily outshot their visitors yet still lost.
Steelers have a Challenge Cup appointment at Manchester Storm on Saturday, before Sunday's game.