Sheffield Steelers star Robert Dowd reveals similarities between last year’s team and the Valdix line

The way we were: Centreman Andreas Valdix with wingers Robert Dowd (left) and Levis Nelson (right.) Pic: Dean Woolley.
The way we were: Centreman Andreas Valdix with wingers Robert Dowd (left) and Levis Nelson (right.) Pic: Dean Woolley.

Robert Dowd admits it will feel strange pitting his wits against four former Steelers this weekend.

The Sheffield winger comes up against Milton Keynes Lightning quartet Andreas Valdix, Tim Wallace, Cole Shudra and Eric Neiley in the home-and-away series which opens the EIHL league programme.

"Obviously, it will be very strange not to be playing alongside them," said Dowd. 

"I thoroughly enjoyed being the same team as these guys, off and on the ice.

"Vally played a huge part in the success I had, he is super-smooth, always able to find me.

"Actually last year's line (Dowd, Valdix and Levi Nelson) reminds of this year's line, which is probably why I am enjoying it so much.”

"Jordan Owens absolutely hounds opponents, he never gives up on a puck, or a situation,” added the 30-year-old forward.

“Evan McGrath reminds me of Valdix, because of his patience and finding me in the right place. If he has got the puck, he will find me."

Dowd is a natural offensive talent and been backed by David Simms as a potential top scorer this season.

But who else will chip in with decent numbers for Sheffield, who were out-manoeuvred and outshot at Nottingham Panthers last weekend?

Dowd's import line-mate McGrath was second most productive forward at Kassel Huskies in Germany last year, while Owens was fourth at Fischtown Penguins.

Both played in excellent standards, so expectations over their contributions are high.

On other lines, Justin Buzzeo scored eight goals and four assists in 16 games for Ravensburg Tower Stars in the DEL 2 last season, which is no mean return.

In 2016-17, he was top points scorer for Atlanta Gladiators, Eric Neiley's old team.

Also chipping in will be Ryan and Matt Rupert, Ryan was the third top scorer for Indy Fuel last season. 

With goals thin on the ground in four of the five pre-season/Challenge Cup games, it’s time to press on. 

Especially on the Power Play – Steelers were zero for six at Nottingham Panthers on Saturday.