Skilled player won't be intimidated, says Sheffield Steelers' coach

Patrick Watling won't be knocked off his stride by any aggressive play from his opponents.
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The 30-year-old Canadian has had some bruising nights in the EIHL since signing for Sheffield Steelers.

In one painful cameo moment against Dundee Stars last Sunday, he was crosschecked as he lay on his knees on the ice, the puck nowhere near him.

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The night before at Manchester Storm, he was on the end of a check which Steelers social media team described as a" nasty hit...with the puck long gone."

Patrick Watling v Dundee Stars Pic Dean WoolleyPatrick Watling v Dundee Stars Pic Dean Woolley
Patrick Watling v Dundee Stars Pic Dean Woolley

Loren Ulett was called for charging, receiving a five-minute penalty. Storm fans disputed the call.

Steelers' coach Aaron Fox said: "When you are a creative player and have the puck on your stick as much as he does you are always going to put yourself in the crosshairs, a little bit.

"He does not shy away from anything, he continues to make plays and that's always a risk he runs."

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Watling ended last weekend as Sheffield's fourth top points scorer, with nine points from eight games.

Aaron FoxAaron Fox
Aaron Fox

While he hasn't found the net as often as fans would like, he is delivering for others while finding himself in key positions for the team.

"If you watched him play you'd expect the numbers to be a little bit higher," said the coach, but a lack of "puck luck" can be associated with that.

"He is playing great, playing hard, a very creative player...I'm sure you will see his name at or near the top of the league."

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Watling was the first forward, this season, to play more minutes than any Sheffield defencemen.

He iced 21 minutes 25 seconds for the league-leaders, against Dundee.

Before Wednesday night's game at Glasgow Clan, five of the six top points scorers in the Steelers' locker room were new signings.

However the man on top is in-form returnee Marco Vallerand, with three goals and 10 assists.

After their midweek appointment, Steelers are at Nottingham Panthers on Saturday before their first meeting of the season with Fife Flyers, at home.