Sheffield Steelers ready to combat different styles as they target IIHF Continental Cup success in Denmark

SHEFFIELD STEELERS’ head coach Aaron Fox is looking forward to testing himself against different styles of opposition in this weekend’s Continental Cup but, more than anything, he wants to somehow emerge from the three-day tournament with a healthier roster.

INJURY CONCERN: Tanner Eberle was forced off injured during last week's 5-0 home again Cardiff Devils Picture: Dean Woolley.

The Steelers open their campaign in the third round of the round robin competition in Denmark with an encounter against hosts Aalborg Pirates on Friday night.

But they headed out on Thrusday with a battered and bruised line-up, with at least four players rated as doubtful for the opener.

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Fox boosted his options by adding former Steelers’ centre Andreas Valdix on Wednesday, but will be hoping Tanner Eberle and netminder Barry Brust will have recovered from injuries sustained during Sunday’s 5-0 home defeat to Cardiff Devils.

Marco-Olivier Vallerand missed both games for Sheffield Steelers last weekend. Picture: Dean Woolley.

He will also hope for better news on forward Marc-Olivier Vallerand, who has missed the last two games.

After Aalborg, the Steelers will take on Olimp Riga, from Latvia, before finishing off against Belarus’s HK Gomel.

Each opponent will present their own, unique challenges, but ones which Fox and his team are keen to take on.

“It’s a good tournament, there are some good teams taking part,” said Fox, who coached Medveščak Zagreb at the same stage of the competition back in November 2018, when they missed out on qualifying for the final round on goal difference, with hosts Belfast Giants and Poland’s GKS Katowice going through.

CHALLENGE: Sheffield Steelers' head coach, Aaron Fox. Picture courtesy of Dean Woolley.

“Aalborg look good on video, very structured, they’ll play fast, so that will be a pretty good game. Then the other two teams come more from that Russian school of hockey, where it is a little bit more about puck possession and they like to snap it around.

“This weekend could go one of two ways for us. If we can use it to get a few guys healthy and not lose any more guys and go back to the league in 10 days’ time a healthier hockey team that would be great. If we play and lose more guys, then it is counter-productive.

“We’ve tried to keep things light this week, use it as a team-building exercise – we can use this weekend as an opportunity to develop some more team chemistry.”