Sheffield Steelers' "gutted" goalie
John Muse's injury may have opened the door of opportunity for back-up netminder Ben Churchfield - but he has nothing but unconditional support for Sheffield Steelers' import goaltender.
Muse suffered an injury half-way through Saturday's Steeler win over Nottingham Panthers and could be out for a while.
Churchfield conceded five goals in Sunday's loss to Manchester Storm, but also pulled off some good saves from the 27 shots at his goal.
The 25-year-old former iceSheffield prospect kept a cool head throughout the game and was honest enough after it to admit he still has much to learn...but will do so in an encouraging environment where Sheffield players look after each other.
"I am gutted for him (Muse)" said Churchfield.
"I have been talking to Johnny since he went down, just to make sure he is ok, he doesn't seem to be in any pain.
"That's my team-mate, that's my partner at the back, we are in this together so I wouldn't want to see anybody go down.
"I hope he gets back as soon as possible. We are in this thing together."
The British born netminder, who has been playing college hockey in America since 2017, was refreshingly candid about his experiences last weekend, at Nottingham Arena in the EIHL mini series.
"It was a lot of firsts for me in a week. There are a couple (of goals) in the second period where I have got to have those from the outside, but at the same time you look at a guy who goes two goals down in his first pro game and hangs in there until we can get back even in the third period, I think I did a great job mentally keeping my confidence flowing throughout the game."
The player says he needs to be a "little bit faster, out a bit more aggressive to take away opportunities" in future duels.
Churchfield, who hadn't played for 14 months during the Covid lockdown, said it was an honour to play for the team he had grown up watching from the stands.
"It was a step up for me and something I always wanted to achieve" he said.
"I know I can play at this level, I have just got to get some games under my belt, get some confidence rolling and show this team what I can do."
Storm coach Ryan Finnerty thought Sheffield had the best of the critical third period on Sunday, but they held on to score the winner with 54 seconds left.