Sheffield Steeldogs: Greg Wood pleased with Dogs intensity levels in win over Raiders

SHEFFIELD STEELDOGS head coach Greg Wood praised the ‘intensity’ of his team after they got their campaign off to an impressive start with a 3-1 victory in the NIHL Autumn Cup at Raiders IHC.

GAME WINNER: Nathan Ripley played for Coventry Blaze on Saturday night in their 7-4 Challenge Cup defeat at Guildford before returning to the Steeldogs' fray to score the game-winner on Sunday at Raiders. Picture: Podium Prints.

Sam Towner got the ball rolling for the visitors at 18.32, only for Aaron Connolly to level for the hosts early in the second.

In a tight game, the go-ahead goal didn’t come until the 55th minute through Nathan Ripley - fresh from playing for Coventry Blaze the previous evening - with Lee Bonner making sure of the win with 58 seconds remaining, adding to his assist on Towner’s opener.

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The tight Romford rink is a notoriously difficult place to visit, but Wood - whose team found themselves edged out by the odd goal in their pre-season encounters against Telford and Leeds - was impressed with how his players dealt with everything thrown at them to start the season proper with a win.

IMPRESSED: Sheffield Steeldogs' head coach, Greg Wood. Picture via Steeldogs Media.

“Overall you can’t really complain – Romford is a pretty tough place to go,” said Wood. “A lot of teams struggle in their rink with the way that they play and the size of the ice pad as it is completely different to what we are used to playing in. To keep the Raiders to one goal and score three ourselves is very pleasing.

“For 50 minutes, Romford had us tied but it was that mentality I have spoken about before that saw us coming out on top in this one. We turned up our intensity in the last part of the game and it was pleasing for me to see.

“We are building a culture here of never giving up, fighting for every puck and tonight we came out on the right side of the battle.”

Wood was pleased to see the goals and points spread around the team, something he believes offers optimism for the long season ahead.

“I have to be pleased with the depth of the roster and tonight our third line were productive,” added Wood. “Normally, you are just relying on them to do a little here and there and not really relying on them to score as much.

“But for me, this year I have expectations of secondary scoring and with Doxey, Ripley and Chaz, I have expectations that they are going to be putting up good numbers for us this year and contributing to the team success.

“For us to do anything this season we need this and we can’t rely just on the likes of Hewy, Salem and Biz to get the points every night. Scoring will come from all across the board.”