Sheffield Steelers’ last gasp chance to unlock their goal potency

Sheffield Steelers’ coach Tom Barrasso has had to acknowledge that his team is not the most dynamic around, when it comes to hitting the net.

Sheffield Steelers' Josh Pitt celebrates  a goal
Sheffield Steelers' Josh Pitt celebrates a goal

His team has scored fewer goals than seven of their Elite League rivals and the amount of times they have been shut-out or have scored just once in games runs into double figures.

Yet John Armstrong believes players can find their range in Saturday's remaining regular season league fixture at Milton Keynes and beyond, into the play off tournament.

"We have players that can score" insisted the centreman.

"The problem is, it's streaky, right now.

“We have got to get all the goalscorers going at once. And then we will be tough to stop.

"I've got to get going, Dowdy (Robert Dowd) has got to get going, (Anthony) DeLuca, Evan (McGrath,) Pitter, (Josh Pitt) Benny (O'Connor,) all these guys...if we show up and put the puck in the net we have a good chance."

Pitt (who has played in all 65 league and Challenge Cup games) and Dowd (46) are top Steeler snipers with 22 goals apiece - club official David Simms suggesting in the Sheffield Telegraph this week that Dowd would have been the club's most successful marksman had it not been for injury, earlier in the campaign.

Armstrong said he'd had his own chances recently but hopes to be able to execute more cleanly when the high-pressure play off games begin.

Pitt's situation is an unusual one.

He led the team in overall points for a long time but has been through a lean period recently, scoring once in 13 outings.

But that doesn't matter in the eyes of Tom Barrasso, who admires his work-rate.

"Josh is a valuable part of our team" said the coach.

"He plays in all situations, power play, penalty kill etc.

"I do not believe his performance has been lacking. Goal production is not the sole determining factor to a players value."

Steelers' top points man is Evan McGrath (14+39 in 61 games) who has a contract seeing him into next season.

But even his tally falls well short of the likes of Cardiff Devils' Charles Linglet and Belfast Giants' Darcy Murphy and Kyle Baun.

One of the issues Steelers will try to resolve in the Summer is to find more goal potency, under their new coach.

A play off title win might save a few heads of the current crop - but others will roll, for sure, at the end of the season.

Armstrong, who also has a Steeler contract for next year, said no player was focusing on that issue.

"Our focus is to get into the play offs, so there has not been a lot of talk about next year yet. We'll worry about that in a month or two."