The one man Sheffield Steelers depend on more than any other

Sheffield Steelers are joint top of the EIHL table, cruising in the Challenge Cup and have won seven out of their eight games so far.
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For all the exciting new players that they have on their roster, their success starts with the guy who stands tall between their posts.

And Matt Greenfield, the king of shut outs, has been at it again.

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On Sunday, he kept a clean sheet in the 3-0 home win over Dundee Stars.

Steelers before the Dundee victory Pic Dean WoolleySteelers before the Dundee victory Pic Dean Woolley
Steelers before the Dundee victory Pic Dean Woolley

And while the classy new boy Josh Nicholls was awarded man of the match for his first brace of goals for the club, Greenfield's 21 saves merit a reminder of his continued importance to the team.

Coach Aaron Fox said: "He gives us a chance every night" underlining how at 0-0 he conjured up a big save on a Dundee breakaway.

"Any time we gave something up he made it look pretty easy. He is just a rock back there and gives us an opportunity every night."

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The league win came on the back of a Cup 6-3 Cup victory at Manchester Storm, in which understudy Tony Morrone played between the pipes.

Matt Greenfield Pic Dean WoolleyMatt Greenfield Pic Dean Woolley
Matt Greenfield Pic Dean Woolley

But for the more important Stars' match, Greenfield was back and looking fresh from the rest.

While he was in unbeatable form, it is probably fair to say that Sunday's match itself wasn't always sizzling entertainment.

We all thought it might be as the first session was a heck of a spectacle.

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If fights and physicality are your favourite part of ice hockey, Sheffield Arena was certainly the place to be.

Josh Nicholls man of the match Pic Dean WoolleyJosh Nicholls man of the match Pic Dean Woolley
Josh Nicholls man of the match Pic Dean Woolley

There is no doubt that Steelers possess steel in their line up, this season, but Stars were determined to match fire with fire.

Marco Vallerand and Sean Allen were niggling each other, Robert Dowd unloaded some serious right hands on James Phelan, Sam Jones administered two beefy hits on the boards, Brien Diffley and Johnny Walker clashed and then Phelan and Colton Saucerman had a centre ice wrestling match.

Phelan was ejected for his part in the rumpus, which started with a high hit on the Sheffield defenceman.

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When the teams weren't knocking lumps out of each other, Steelers were shooting and scoring while Stars were breaking away and not getting the puck past Greenfield.

Spencer Naas and Anthony Rinaldi couldn't get the better of him but Mitchell Balmas and Nicholls each lashed home from the right flank, both on the power play, for Sheffield.

If Walker had accepted Scott Allen's invitation to drop the gloves, the 6,259 crowd would have seen a similarly dynamic start to the middle period.

He didn't and the session was comparatively hum-drum with each team cancelling the other out. It was a "flat" period, coach Aaron Fox later admitted.

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Brett Neumann, who had hit the post twice, was luckless as was Daniel Ciampini as the Scots kept themselves in with a chance of clawing back.

Dundee created chances to score but were finally undone at 50:40.

The game needed another goal and it came when Balmas' pass from behind the net teed up Nicholls' second of the night, for the all-important insurance goal.

Sheffield, who scratched Kameron Kielly from the line-up, are back on the road on Wednesday, when they visit Glasgow Clan for the first time this season.

An away win would put Fox's men two points clear at the summit.

It's early days yet -but it's all looking promising.