Sheffield Steelers wary of cup storm ahead

Steelers go in to Wednesday's Challenge Cup decider aware that if there is a team that can overcome their three goal lead from the first leg - it is Manchester Storm.

Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 9:03 am
Updated Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 2:03 pm
Marek Troncinský - a consistent performer and offensive asset for Sheffield

Sheffield won the home quarter final 5-2 and hope to push on in Altrincham's second leg and into the semi finals.

But Storm certainly know how to beat Sheffield at home - one of their three wins over Steelers this season was a 6-2 victory in October.

Visiting coach Aaron Fox knows the onus will be on Ryan Finnerty's men to take the game to them.

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But that does not mean they will sit back and defend.

"We are going there to win that hockey game" he said.

"But I do think that we have to realise that they have to chase the game, we don't.

"I think the first ten minutes of that hockey game is going to be critical for us to make sure we are extremely sound and don't give them anything, make them realise that it's going to be a long night of them having to come through guys and play a 200-foot game if they want to get into our end.

"So, we will still be an aggressive team that plays fast and that pushes the pace but we will just have to be a little more aware defensively."Steelers will have to be at their best at both ends of the ice - something Marek Troncinský has demonstrated since arriving in October.

Troncinský has pretty much emulated fellow defenceman Ben O'Connor's points ratio since being signed as injury cover for Aaron Johnson and Jonas Liwing

In 2017-18 Troncinský had the most assists and points by any Dman in the Czech Republic's elite division and once he bedded in, has been a prolific provider for Sheffield.

Early last month, he extended his contract, after a get-out clause for him to join other leagues in Europe expired.In the last three games, he has scored three goals and three assists - two of the latter against Manchester.

Meanwhile, the position of top goalscorer at Steelers is becoming an interesting sideshow - Marco Vallerand and Robert Dowd are tied together on 16 strikes. Dowd has played two more games.

*Four other teams play on Wednesday night, also hoping for a place in the semis. The games are: Cardiff Devils v Belfast Giants (Agg: 1-0) Guildford Flames v Nottingham Panthers (Agg: 1-5.)

If any quarter final score is tied on aggregate over two legs, the two teams will play 3-on-3 for five minutes, sudden-death overtime would then follow and a regular shootout if necessary.

If Steelers go through into the semi, they will play either Glasgow Clan or Belfast Giants.