Steelers’ axe falls on unlucky Trudel

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SHEFFIELD Steelers, who moved joint-second in the Elite League table with Nottingham Panthers following a late 3-2 overtime win in Cardiff on Wednesday, will return to action a man light when they travel to Dundee on Sunday.

The arrival of defenceman Nick Duff - who debuted in South Wales - and return from injury of fellow blue liner Matt Stephenson means fellow import defenceman Francis Trudel has been shown the door.

Player-coach Ryan Finnerty admitted it was a tough decision to axe Trudel, who only arrived at the club in early December and scored six points, including two goals, in 14 games.

“Releasing a player is never a nice thing to do, but my job is to make this team the best it can be,” said Finnerty. “We had the chance to sign Duff, though, and he does make our team better I feel.

“Then it’s a numbers game and I felt that Trudel was the guy who had to leave.”

Stephenson missed last Sunday’s 3-1 home win against Dundee after suffering an abdominal injury in the warm-up.

Steelers’ last trip to Dundee was back in October when goals from Mark Thomas, Ashley Tait and two from Finnerty earned them a comfortable 4-0 win.

IN the English Premier League, fifth-placed Sheffield Steeldogs hit the road all weekend, travelling to second-placed Milton Keynes Lightning on Saturday before visiting bottom club Telford Tigers on Sunday.

Player-coach Andre Payette said: “It is always a battle in Milton Keynes and it will be a real physical battle.

“We need a whole team effort on both nights. Telford which will be another tough one as both our games in there previously have been close, hard-fought battles.”