Disciplined approach key for Stingrays in Steelers double header

Sheffield Steelers and Hull Stingrays face off against each other again twice this weekend. Picture: Dean Woolley.
Sheffield Steelers and Hull Stingrays face off against each other again twice this weekend. Picture: Dean Woolley.
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OMAR PACHA hopes his players can repeat the discipline shown in last weekend’s stunning win over Belfast Giants in order to secure similar success from this weekend’s double header against Sheffield Steelers.

Hull beat the defending Elite League champions 3-2 on home ice last Saturday before picking up a point in an overtime defeat at Dundee Stars the following night.

The win over Belfast is not the only success Pacha’s team have enjoyed over a leading team, having already recorded victories over Nottingham Panthers and Braehead Clan.

They now want to pick off another top five side in Gerad Adams’s Steelers, although Pacha is aware his side will once again be clear underdogs in Saturday night’s meeting at the Motorpoint Arena before the two sides reconvene in Hull 24 hours later.

In three meetings with current league leaders Sheffield this season, Hull have come off second-best on each occasion, but Pacha - back after a two-game suspension - believes his players are capable of springing another surprise.

“I think of all the teams we have come up against, Sheffield are the best so far,” said Pacha, who also welcomes back forwards Sam Towner and Jordan Mayer, giving him the luxury of a full-strength roster to play with for the first time this season.

“You look at that top line of Roy, Forney and Fretter, then the playmakers at the back such as Dustin Kohn and Ben O’Connor and you add the strength and size they also have back on their ‘D’ – there are not many weaknesses.

“But we’re not going in there to lie down and hand the points over. If we respect the system, play disciplined hockey like we did against Belfast then we’ll give ourselves a good chance.”

Steelers’ head coach Gerad Adams said he was fully aware of the threat posed by Hull, but he believes taking them on at the Motorpoint Arena for the first time this season gives them a significant advantage.

“Their offence has been very impressive this season and they are very good at creating odd-man rushes – their transitional game is excellent, so we’re going to have to be at our best, as always,” said Adams.

“Their goalscoring is a big asset for them this season and they had a big win against Belfast last weekend. But playing at the Arena is always a good thing for us because I feel it energises us and we have more enthusiasm.”

Steelers v Stingrays: The facts ....

2014-15 meetings

Oct 8 (Challenge Cup): Steelers 6 Stingrays 3

Oct 12 (Challenge Cup): Stingrays 2 Steelers 3

Oct 25 (League): Steelers 4 Stingrays 1

Top scorers

Steelers: Mathieu Roy Gls: 21; Ass: 27; Pts: 48

Stingrays: Cory Tanaka Gls: 17; Ass: 19; Pts: 36

Goalies

Steelers: Frank Doyle - GAA: 2.38; Save %: 0.918

Stingrays: David Brown - GAA: 3.49; Save %: 0.902

Hot streak

Steelers; Mathieu Roy - 9pts, incl 4 goals, in last five games

Stingrays: Carl Lauzon - 8 pts, incl 4 goals, in last five games.