Sheffield Steeldogs hope road run kickstarts NIHL National campaign with Hull Seahawks lying in wait
Granted, the first of their four-game away schedule didn’t get off to the best of starts with last Sunday’s 4-1 defeat at Telford Tigers.
But, ahead of a Saturday trip to Solway Sharks and an eagerly-anticipated rematch with derby rivals Hull Seahawks 24 hours later, player-coach Hewitt is of the mind that his team are currently a better unit on the road.
Two wins from six outings away from home wouldn’t suggest that too much, but then inconsistency is something which has so far dogged the South Yorkshire team throughout this season.
Hewitt admits he can’t fault the work ethic of his players, but suggests they are not playing smart enough at the moment, leading to critical mistakes which have ended up costing them points.
“I think we are a better team on the road so this little run might do us good,” said Hewitt, whose team don’t venture out on to home ice again until Sunday, November 26 when they entertain Solway.
“But, as we know, there are no easy rinks to visit in this league, it is going to be a grind.
“We’ve blown hot and cold all season and we are an under.500 hockey team which is just not acceptable.
“I can’t fault the guys’ work-rate at all, but the brains and smarts are just not there at the moment.”
Hull coach Matty Davies will want to use this weekend’s sole game against the Steeldogs to try and turn up the heat on leaders Leeds Knights, who are without a fixture.
The four points from last weekend’s wins over Sheffield and Bristol Pitbulls moved Hull into third and within six points of the Knights, with two games in hand.
“Hewy will be fired up for this one,” said Davies about Hewitt, his former coach and team-mate in Hull.
“It will be a tough game. Hewy and Biss (Matt Bissonnette) are always dangerous for them and so we’re going to have to be on it. With not having a game Saturday, we’ll be going all in for that game as we need to keep picking the points up.”