SHEFFIELD Steelers’ head coach Ryan Finnerty believes his side’s ability to contribute points from all over the ice will prove to be a crucial asset this season.
Last night the Steelers saw their winning run extended to six games with a deserved 6-3 triumph at Hull Stingrays in their opening Group B match in the Challenge Cup.
There will understandably be some who simply saw last night’s away triumph as satisfying their thirst for revenge given the Steelers’ play-off humiliation at the hands of Hull last season.
But what will have pleased Finnerty even more was the fact that five different players contributed to the goal tally.
“There’s a real team ethic about us I feel,” said Finnerty. “We are not a one or two guy team – we all rely on each other.
“Everybody has their part to play and we don’t put pressure on anyone to be the go-to-guy.
“We want to spread the scoring around and for everybody to contribute. I think we’re doing that at the moment and it’s all about the team. I like the group we’ve got, there are a lot of good things in there.
“We’ve got no egos in our room, just some great characters. And I’m more than happy with the identity we are creating for ourselves.”
Steelers had to extend their winning streak the hard way at Hull Arena, finding themselves a goal down after only 21 seconds when Jereme Tendler found a way past netminder Geoff Woolhouse.
Former NHL forward Steve Goertzen levelled in the 15th minute, but a powerplay strike from Cale Tanaka at 17.28 gave the home side a 2-1 lead at the first interval. Three goals in the first seven minutes of the second, however, swung the tie significantly the way of the home side.
Colin Shields made it 2-2 at 21.31, before captain Jonathan Phillips put the Steelers ahead less than a minute later.
Tylor Michel made it 4-2 on the powerplay at 26.14 before Jeff Legue added a fifth at 37.41.
Dominic Osman pulled one back in the 48th minute, but Michel added his second of the night five seconds from the end.
“We came out very slowly and we weren’t too happy about that,” said Finnerty after his team’s win.
“The second period, though, couldn’t have been more different and the guys showed me what they had with a 4-0 session. We played some nice hockey and were in control at that point.
“The third was just about doing what we had to do to see the game out.”
Finnerty’s opposite number, Sylvain Cloutier, regretted that his team couldn’t build on an impressive 7-5 win over Cardiff Devils in their previous cup game.
“We got off to a great start, we had a little collapse in the second and I thought we picked it up again in the third,” said Cloutier.
“Take the second period away – we did not play well and it hurt us - I thought we did a decent job. I don’t think it was a 6-3 game, we competed and battled with them.”