Impact of new D-men key to Sheffield Steelers' super season start, says hat-trick hero Tanner Eberle

Jérémy Beaudry has eyes on the prize - Dean WoolleyJérémy Beaudry has eyes on the prize - Dean Woolley
Jérémy Beaudry has eyes on the prize - Dean Woolley
Sheffield Steelers have five new defenceman on their books for the EIHL min season and their ability to interpret the coach's game plan and philosophies has been key to the club's top-of-the-league status.

That's the view of forward Tanner Eberle, who monopolised the headlines after his hat-trick in midweek against Coventry Blaze.

He thinks the intelligence and application shown by new boys Jérémy Beaudry, Adrian Saxrud Danielsen, Kevin Schulze and brothers Sam and Adam Jones has been the main positive when compared with last year's squad.

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Beaudry and Schulze have clocked up more minutes on ice than any other Steelers, so far.

"Our D-men seem to be really good skaters this year," said Eberle.

"They seem to have an understanding of the system quickly and know that we are not a team that likes to hang on to the puck a lot, we are a kind of north-south type of hockey team.

"I feel we struggled with that at times last year, guys trying to do too much, when the system is just kind of to go north south...and that hurt us a lot of times in the games we lost.

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"Right off the bat I can tell our D are buying into the system right’s been a really nice change this year."

Adrian Saxrud-Danielsen looking for the puck - Dean WoolleyAdrian Saxrud-Danielsen looking for the puck - Dean Woolley
Adrian Saxrud-Danielsen looking for the puck - Dean Woolley

Eberle, who knows he is a trusted player in coach Aaron Fox's eyes, would be more than happy to spend the rest of the campaign on a line with GB star Robert Dowd and Czech newcomer Josef Mikyska.

The import isn't a fluent English speaker, but there is little problem communicating with Mikyska.

"My Czech is not very good, so mostly we go with hand signals and we kind of figure everything out.

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"But I actually love the guy and I am excited to play with him, hopefully, for the rest of the season."

Eberle felt the second line displayed excellent chemistry in the big win over Coventry; they were "on the same page and buzzing all night."

The Canadian forward was delighted to see goaltender Ben Churchfield do well against Blaze.

"Wednesday was huge for Churchy, he is a young kid, he's never played professionally before, you can't expect him to come in and be solid right away."

A first pro win builds a new level of confidence for any one making their way in the paid ranks for the first time, said Eberke.

Sheffield have a 7pm appointment on Saturday with Nottingham Panthers before Sunday's attempt to get revenge over Manchester Storm for an earlier defeat in the tournament.

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