Things can only get better, says Sheffield Steelers' star Brett Neumann

Forward Brett Neumann says Sheffield's steely defence is a prime factor in why they have started their EIHL campaign off so well.
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The skater gives credit where it is due - a solid blue line and disciplined checking from forwards have helped drive Steelers to joint top of the division.

It's early, but the team seems to be on an upward trend.

Their results have been better than the opening eight games of last season.

Brett Neumann at Manchester StormBrett Neumann at Manchester Storm
Brett Neumann at Manchester Storm
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In 2022-23, Aaron Fox's men won and six lost two, scoring 27 goals.

This term they have lost only once and hit the net some 34 times.

"I think we are playing the right way which is a big part of this" said Neumann.

"We are playing good defence which leads to good offence.

Brett Neumann, thirsty for successBrett Neumann, thirsty for success
Brett Neumann, thirsty for success

"Just look down the line up, it is really strong, we are very deep on the front end and the back end so I think it has been a good start.

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"I can potentially see us getting better so hopefully we can keep building off that."

The 24-year-old Canadian believes this year's roster is deeper in numbers and quality than last season's squad, with four strong lines, robust defence and good puck movement.

"Teams are finding it difficult to score on us and we have been scoring more goals so overall it is looking a little bit stronger," he said.

Neumann, personally, was cursed with bad luck in Sunday's home victory over Dundee Stars.

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He hit the post twice but as his side won the game 3-0 he was able to shrug off that disappointment.

"That's the way it goes sometimes, you don't get the bounces and sometimes they come in bunches."

The former Allen Americans' player said he was looking at the positives - he is getting in positions to get shots away.

"I am confident in my game and I know if I keep playing that way they are going to go in."

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It is a comparable situation with Patrick Watling - his talent level is on a par with the league's top players, but he's not been able to buy a goal in the last seven games.

"He is a great player who does a fantastic job for us. He has set up a lot of goals" said Neumann, after his team-mate played 21 minutes against Dundee.

"It is the same sort of situation - for pucks crossing the goal line - for him.

"He's getting the chances and it is only a matter of time before they start to fall."

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Meanwhile, Steelers are doing well in some of the key statistical categories across the league.

Goalie Matt Greenfield leads the field with a goal-against ratio of 1.59, Sheffield goals-against and the average attendance of 6,749 dwarfs the nearest rival Nottingham Panthers, who attract 4,842.

Mitchell Balmas and Daniel Ciampini are joint second in the league for points - six points from five regular matches.

Wednesday sees Steelers travel the 250 miles to joint bottom of the league Glasgow Clan.