League to review Sheffield Steelers’ opening friendly night fracas

COVENTRY Blaze’s Brad Leeb could be in line for an early-season ban following his controversial sucker punch on Sheffield Steelers’ Jason Hewitt.

Saturday’s pre-season ‘friendly’ between the two sides at the Motorpoint Arena erupted in the second period, with the former NHL forward being ejected for his actions, which left GB international Hewitt with a broken nose and the Steelers’ bench incensed.

With the 2012-13 league campaign just five days away, the league’s disciplinary committee - headed by Simon Kirkham - will now review the incident and report back with its findings by Wednesday.

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The Steelers’ lost their opening exhibition game 4-3, but gained revenge 24 hours later when winning 3-1 at Coventry’s Skydome Arena.

Steelers’ head coach Ryan Finnerty will now begin preparing his team for this weekend’s opening double header against Cardiff Devils.

New signings Jim Jorgenson, Colin Shields (shorthanded) and Steve Goertzen on the power play were all on target for the Steelers on Sunday, the two new forwards adding to the goals they scored at home the previous evening.

“I felt we played much better in Coventry,” said Finnerty.

“It was a much better performance than on Saturday, although that probably was to be expected as it was our first time out as a team and we looked a touch ring rusty.

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“You have to remember that we hadn’t been on the ice very much and Saturday was our first game together so losing wasn’t such a disaster.

“On Sunday, you have to remember that Coventry were a few guys short but, saying that, I didn’t think it was a 3-1 game - I thought we were a little more comfortable than that.”

Hull Stingrays, preparing for life in the northern conference under the league’s new structure, enjoyed mixed fortunes.

In what was no more than a practice match against the club’s NIHL side on Saturday night, Stingrays fans saw their team stroll to a comfortable 14-1 win, with new forward Janis Ozolins scoring four goals.

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On Sunday, in the first leg of the Bradfield Brewery Cup, Ozolins was on target again, this time against former club Sheffield Steeldogs, as Hull - still awaiting the arrival of several import players - went down 4-3.

Hull player-coach Sylvain Cloutier declared himself happy with the weekend’s workout and expects to have captain Kurtis Dulle in place for the second leg against Andre Payette’s Steeldogs which will be played at Ice Sheffield on Tuesday night (7.45pm).

Shane Lovdahl, Dominic Osman and Jeff Smith are all expected to arrive in Hull later this week before Saturday’s Challenge Cup opener against Nottingham Panthers.