Delight for Greg Wood as Sheffield Steeldogs maintain 100 per cent start to stay ahead of Spring Cup chasing pack

WHILE he may have had a few grumbles about his team’s performance on Saturday night, Sheffield Steeldogs coach Greg Wood was left more than happy 24 hours later after seeing them complete the double over Spring Cup rivals Raiders IHC.

ON THE MARK: Sheffield Steeldogs' Jonathan Phillips enjoyed a rewarding weekend, scoring three goals and four assists across the two games against Raiders. Picture courtesy of Podium Prints/Steeldogs.

Having secured what was an ultimately comfortable 7-3 victory over Sean Easton’s side at Ice Sheffield, Wood still cut a frustrated afterwards but last night’s 7-2 triumph over the same opponents in Romford was closer to what he is looking for.

In terms of scoring, GB internationals Jonathan Phillips and Liam Kirk led the way with two goals apiece, but Wood was keen to emphasise the positives throughout his entire roster.

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“I’ll admit I wasn’t satisfied that much on Saturday, but it was the total opposite here,” said Wood. “We played for a full 60 minutes doing exactly what I wanted us to do.

Sheffield Steeldogs' head coach Greg Wood, right, took great satisfaction from his team's performance in Romford on Sunday night. Picture courtesy of Peter Best/Steeldogs.

“We got scoring across the board, again, but it was the manner in which we played tonight which really impressed me and the control, the style and the way in which they executed what I’d asked - that was the most pleasing thing.

“We’ve shown in short spells how good we can be over the last three games, but we’ve not been able to put it together consistently. But, from the first puck drop tonight, to the final buzzer I thought we were dominant in every single area. And we showed a lot of good, positive things.”

With all teams having now played four games, the Steeldogs returned to the top of the standings having maintained their winning start to the tournament, matched for points by Telford Tigers, who enjoyed back-to-back win over Bees IHC, who the Steeldogs play next weekend.

Youngster Brady Doxey got the ball rolling for the Steeldogs at 5.43 before Phillips grabbed his first of the night just under seven minutes later.

CONTRIBUTING: Steedogs' Nathan Salem grabbed a goal and three assists in the two games against Raiders IHC. Picture courtesy of Podium Prints/Steeldogs.

The Steeldogs were 4-0 ahead within two minutes of the second thanks to Liam Kirk and Ben O’Connor, the hosts eventually getting on the board at 39.04 through Callum Wells, only for Kirk to restore the four-goal lead with his second 14 seconds later.

Phillips made it 6-1 with his second at 45.19 and while Tommy Huggett doubled the hosts’ tally for the night soon after, Jason Hewitt completed the scoring at 54.25.

On Saturday, after a goalless first period, a frantic opening to the second saw the Steeldogs ahead 2-1 after just over two minutes, Ben Lake and Hewitt scoring either side of a reply from Raiders’ Erik Piatak.

Phillips tipped in from in front to make it 3-1 on the powerplay in the 36th minute, before Nathan Salem added a fourth at 39.03.

Charlie Thompson made it 5-1 at 46.44 and, although the Raiders briefly threatened a comeback, further strikes from Alex Graham and Kirk sealed the points.