Ice hockey: Sirianni magic inspires Steelers to victory over Devils

Dave Simms Telegraph
Dave Simms Telegraph

The Steelers have a new star; a new player to hang their hat on. His name is Rob Sirianni, a 29-year-old Canadian who had only been in the country for 24 hours when he made his debut last Sunday against Cardiff.

Steelers fans, though, have seen enough: three goals in 30 minutes, a man of the match performance and, most importantly, a home win for the team.

It was enough to send the Steelers online shop into meltdown, as fans ordered replica shirts with Sirrianni’s number 71 on the back first thing on Monday morning.

The signing of Sirianni and his fellow Italian, Canadian Nate DiCasmirro, have given the Steelers a boost and a sense of direction heading into two crunch games against Fife away in Scotland, on Saturday, and at home this Sunday against Belfast at the Motorpoint Arena.

The games will see the Steelers handicapped by Gord Baldwin’s five-game suspension - handed down for kicking, during last Saturday’s game against the Giants.

This will mean that Dustin Kohn will be pushed back into the line up, following his ankle injury, to prop up the blue line. Finnish forward Ilpo Salmivirta is the likely man to have to sit out the games.

This Sunday will be the first time that Steelers coach Doug Christiansen has coached against his former side in Sheffield.

Belfast took the upper hand last week in Northern Ireland with a 4-2 win. Christiansen needs a four-point weekend; the Steelers have had too many two-point weekends.

The signing, though, of Sirianni - last season’s Most Valuable Player from the impressive Italian Elite League - has certainly given a well-timed boost to everyone in Steelerland.

Seventeen goals in just 16 play-off games last year helped Sirianni become a play-off champion. A similar goal return in Sheffield will surely lead to the same result - and a trophy to lift in March.