Sheffield Steelers: Skipper is full of praise for prolific teammate

John Armstrong's stellar offensive performances and overall game-management craft have seen him earn a tribute from his captain - and top spot in Sheffield Steelers' scoring charts.

Tuesday, 3rd December 2019, 11:24 am
John Armstrong - significant influence on the team.
John Armstrong - significant influence on the team.

In his last six games, the centreman has scored ten points - five goals and five assists.

'Army' is probably among the top wage earners at the club – but his all-round performances and leadership make him worth every penny.

The Canadian forward scored a crucial, short-handed goal in last Sunday's win over Nottingham.

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And the fact that he has reserved some of his best performances so far this campaign against their biggest rivals won't have done his reputation any harm with Steelers fans.

In six games in League and Cup against Tim Wallace's team, he has scored five goals and four assists, a remarkably consistent tally since the series started. Panthers have simply been unable to control him.

Skipper Jonathan Phillips said: "John was always going to be key for us this year but especially with the recent injuries we needed that guy to step up and be the guy.

“John's goals and points are important but it’s his general play that’s been so good.

“He makes key face off wins when they are needed. I think he feels this is his team and this is him moment to say: 'Jump on my back.' “His performance on Sunday in Nottingham was one of those nights."

Last weekend's team points distribution saw Armstrong overtake Marco Vallerand in the club stakes.

Vallerand had led the way throughout the early season but had to settle for the role as joint leading scorer last Wednesday, and was finally overtaken by Armstrong who has an overall 13+20 output from 31 games.

Vallerand has a point less, 12+20 but in fairness has played six games fewer.

He has an upper body problem which makes him doubtful for Sheffield's trip to Belfast Giants on Friday and Saturday.

The stats are the icing on the cake for professional hockey players such as these - but the thing they crave most is championship titles.

And two wins at Belfast - who have three games in hand over Steelers - would be a huge boost as they head towards the Christmas period. Leading scorer Robert Dowd is hoping to be back on Friday after missing out Sunday.