Resilience of Sheffield Steeldogs getting them through the tough times, says Ben Morgan

BEN MORGAN has praised the “resilience and character” of his Sheffield Steeldogs team as they battle through a mini-injury crisis.

BIG BLOW: Sheffield Steelers' Kieran Brown, on a two-way deal with Sheffield Steeldogs, is feared to have seen his season ended through injury. Picture courtesy of Cerys Molloy.

Forward Cam Brownley has been out for three weeks with an upper-body injury and was joined on the sidelines shortly after by Nathan Salem, who has had surgery to remove his appendics.

A week later, however, came probably the biggest blow for the NIHL National team when two-way forward Kieran Brown suffered injury in the 2-1 win at Basingstoke Bison.

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It later transpired that the teenager had broken his wrist. Surgery was carried out last week, but that means he is now expected to be out for the rest of the season.

Despite the blow, however, Sheffield go into this weekend’s double-header against an improving Milton Keynes Lightning side on the back of a three-game unbeaten run.

“I’m pleased with our resilience and character over the last three games,” said Morgan, who has seen veteran forward and assistant coach Greg Wood return to the ice on a short-term basis.

“We’ve asked the question of players, can they step up and be counted? Players that have not necessarily had loads of ice time or played on special teams much before and, to be fair, every single player has taken the opportunity with both hands.

“It is a big blow to have those three players out, of course it is, Kieran and Nathan in particular were our go-to guys scoring-wise before they were ruled out.

Sheffield Steeldogs' player-coach, Ben Morgan. Picture copurtesy of Cerys Molloy.

“But we’ve managed to grind out results in the last three games - the team is stepping up when they are needed to.”

Morgan said he expected to face a completely different Lightning team to the one the Steeldogs beat 6-4 on the second weekend of the season, given the roster changes that have transpired since then.

A visit to Buckinghamshire brought a 5-0 win in October before Lewis Clifford’s side gained revenge with a 3-1 win at Ice Sheffield last month.

“The team they have now is completely different to the team that we last played against - they are a completely different animal,” said Morgan, whose team visit the Lightning tonight before hosting them 24 hours later (4.30pm).

MISSING IN ACTION: Sheffield Steeldogs' forward, Nathan Salem. Picture courtesy of Cerys Molloy.

“They’ve changed imports, they’ve brought in more experienced British guys, they’ve got a few guys back from injury, so it is literally a completely different side. It is no wonder that their results are starting to pick up and becoming the team that a lot of people expected them to be at the start of the season.”