Colton Fretter will be hoping to make up for lost time when he resumes life in the Elite League on Saturday.
The Steelers forward was suspended for the six previous games, prior to the Continental Cup series in Denmark, and had to scrape off the rink-rust in those three overseas matches.
“I felt pretty good” said the 35-year-old, who will line up with his Sheffield team-mates at Milton Keynes Lightning on Saturday. “I thought our line (Mathieu Roy and John Armstrong) created a few chances and that is was I am supposed to do, make and get a few goals.
“I would like my shot to get a little better, but hopefully I am getting there.”
During his suspension, handed out for retaliating after an incident involving Belfast Giants’ Spiro Goulakos, Fretter tried to keep as fit as possible: “I worked in training and did some extra skating to try and stay in game condition, but nothing is the same as being involved.”
While he chooses not talk about his feelings after getting banned, he admits he is uncertain about his emotions when his side play Belfast again on December 10.
“You know as much as I do about that - we’ll just see what happens” said Fretter.
For the moment it is simply the MKL game that is on his mind.
Steelers beat them 4-3 in September, but they were the second-best team for the first half of the game and MKL outshot them.
“They are a good team with lot of players who have been in the League before and know it. They play solid systems and have had some big wins. They will want to battle and it will be tough going there.”
Fretter said the morale of the side was “positive and upbeat” after qualifying for the finals of the Continental Cup.
And he said the “big presence” of Andre Deveaux, particularly out front on the Power Play, was helping the team.
“He is getting stronger after a long time out and with him and the others we keep moving forward.”
*FACTSPOT: Despite his absence, Fretter remains the third top goals corer in the club’s league play, equal with Rob Dowd, only Armstrong and Matt Marquardt (12 and eight) have hit the rigging more times.