Sheffield Steelers: Tanner Eberle loving life on Arena ice
Tanner Eberle is enjoying himself at Sheffield Steelers more this year - you can tell that both on the ice and in the stats' column.
The high-energy winger - who The Star recently compared to Levi Nelson - is Steelers' fifth top scorer while proving himself to be an asset on the penalty kill.
He has certainly been much more influential compared to this time, last season.
In 2018-19, he had scored two goals and three assists in the first dozen games.
This year, in the same timespan, he has recorded five goals and five assists and been given more responsibilities by coach Aaron Fox.
It took the Canadian almost twice as many games to reach 10 points last term.
In last weekend's wins over Nottingham Panthers, Eberle played on a line with Michael Davies and Lucas Sandstrom.
"I've been playing with some really good players this year and Foxy has some confidence in me right now," said Eberle, who was signed last year by then-coach Paul Thompson.
"That is the nice thing about our team right now, everyone can play with everyone, there is just so much skill up and down our line up, there is a lot of depth so you are always getting chances to score and make stuff happen."
Referring to Fox's use of him in key moments of games, he said: "I guess he trusts me to play good defensive zone. I know that is my role in this team, to kill penalties with Jonathan Phillips, and me and him are just trying to do that for the team and score when we can.
"I think I am getting a lot more opportunities than I did last year. I had a good pre-season (he was top scorer in three friendly games with four goals) and Foxy kind of noticed it and gave me the chance to get on the ice more and show what I can do."
Former ECHL man Eberle, 25, was pleased with the performance of the whole team team in the double victory over Panthers: "I liked the way we battled in the last two games."
The side did not give up on Sunday when they were behind and kept fighting to the end, he added.
*Defenceman Ben O'Connor has moved into third place in Sheffield's scoring charts, behind Marc-Olivier Vallerand and John Armstrong. O'Connor is averaging a point a game.