Sheffield Steeldogs hoping to make extra practice time count against Raiders IHC in Spring Cup

HAVING returned from an enforced three-month absence off the ice with a pair of wins over one of their chief rivals for the Spring Cup, it would have been understandable had Sheffield Steeldogs wished to maintain their early momentum in the behind-closed-doors tournament.

Sheffield Steeldogs head coach, Greg Wood. Picture courtesy of Peter Best

But head coach Greg Wood and his players have welcomed the extra time last week’s scheduled weekend off from the NIHL National competition has afforded them, spending the extra practice time nailing down their systems and further embedding the various new faces who have come on board in recent weeks.

It sees the Steeldogs go into this weekend’s double-header against London-based Raiders IHC confident they can extend their winning sequence.

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“Normally, I think you’d want to carry through the momentum that we had by winning those first two games against Swindon but, in another way, it has done us good to not play,” said Wood.

Sheffield Steeldogs started their Spring Cup campaign off with two wins over NIHL National rivals Swindon Wildcats. Picture courtesy of Andy Bourke/Podium Prints.

“The level of practice has been really good, we’ve stepped it up another notch in terms of our intensity and work-rate, so hopefully that will bode well this weekend.

“It has given us extra time to embed our systems and work on things we felt we probably weren’t up to speed with over the two games against Swindon.

To book a ticket to watch Saturday’s game between Steeldogs and Raiders live on the internet click HERE

“You have to remember that this is a work in progress, it is a new team and things don’t just happen overnight, you have to work for it.”

Raiders visit South Yorkshire tonight (face-off 6.30pm) on the back of two defeats to 2019-20 NIHL National champions Telford Tigers.

But while his team were resting, Wood was busy taking in both games on the live streams and believes Raiders were unlucky to come away from what was their opening weekend with nothing.

“They had two close games against Telford,” added Wood. “I would say they are a no frills simple team but they do all the little things well and skate really well. They outshot Telford at Telford, which is not an easy thing to do and had they had their power play working, I think they would probably have come out on the right side of a result at Telford.”

To book a ticket to watch Saturday’s game between Steeldogs and Raiders live on the internet click HERE

Given the depth at his disposal, Wood leaves out Craig Elliott and James Spurr for another week as a precaution, a decision which will allow Under-20 forwards Brady Doxey and Nathan Ripley to come in and gain some valuable ice time.

“It’s a bit of squad rotation really, making sure everyone is fresh and giving everyone an opportunity to get some minutes under their belts,” explained Wood. “We’ll be putting Brady and Nathan on with our experienced import forward Stanislav Lascek, so they’ll get some meaningful minutes under their belt and put a good contribution in.”

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