Steelers stopper Nick is a mid-ice killing machine

Steelers new player Nick Duff on ice at IceSheffield as he meets and trains with his new team mates
Steelers new player Nick Duff on ice at IceSheffield as he meets and trains with his new team mates
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NICK Duff hopes to show off his speciality - a bone crushing mid-ice hit - on Scottish ice tomorrow.

The American loves to connect with opposition players as they skate around with their heads down and their focus on the puck.

The new Sheffield defenceman tried it a couple of times during his Steelers debut at Cardiff Devils in Tuesday 3-2 win. It is an intimidating sight, even if every one of his body check attempts didn’t come off in Wales.

Coach Ryan Finnerty said: “He likes to finish his checks although he missed a couple of big ones on open ice.

“Nick is very strong and likes checking players across the middle. It is something he did pretty well in the (North American) Central Hockey League and he wants to bring that side of his game here.

“The ice is bigger here so he knows that it is harder to get right.”

Some Steelers’ veteran fans will hope Duff brings a similar number of mid-ice hits as did a predecessor Steve Carpenter.

Duff, 26, had a decent debut in Cardiff, added the coach: “He keeps things simple, skates well, is physical and is great at killing penalties - better than I thought he’d be.

“Refereeing issues meant we had to face half a dozen 5-on-3 penalty kills but he and the rest stepped up.

“It might take him four or five games to fit right in and get some more games under his belt.”

Meanwhile, Steelers are on the road again this weekend, they play at joint bottom Dundee Star, who have lost four consecutive games and must play tonight, at Hull Stingrays, while Steelers have no match this evening.

“They played well at our barn recently and will come at us,” said Finnerty.

n Francis Trudel has been sacked by Steelers after 14 games. The French Canadian was deemed too weak on the blue line and has been replaced by import Nick Duff.