Sheffield Steelers duo back on the goal trail

Mike Ratchuk celebrates scoring at Manchester
Mike Ratchuk celebrates scoring at Manchester

If Steelers are again short of offensive players for the back-to-back weekend challenge at Belfast Giants, they will at least know that two of their attackers are back on the goal trail.

Goals from centreman John Armstrong and Robert Dowd were well received by Sheffield coach Paul Thompson, after Sunday’s 4-1 win at Manchester Storm.

Dowd hadn’t scored in his last nine and Armstrong his last six before both found the back of the net.

Armstrong’s contribution came despite the fact he has been carrying a painful foot injury.

Thompson said: “A big thing for me was Armstrong and Dowd getting goals, both have been a bit ‘snake-bitten’ around the net and like Levi Nelson in the home game against Manchester on Saturday, they found their scoring when we needed it.

“John played despite a puck on foot injury, his foot had ballooned up, and he had to have some strong pain killers. Mathieu Roy was also struggling, but as always he is a warrior.

Rob Dowd

Rob Dowd

Steelers have a full casualty room: Colton Fretter has upper body problems and Yared Hagos cuts to his face. Andreas Valdix is recovering from a wrist complaint. Guillaume Desbiens has had flu, as have others.

With Steelers yet to find a replacement for Jesse Schultz, who was axed on December 27, Thompson put his faith in d-man Mike Ratchuk, who scored two at Manchester and was man of the match. Asked where Ratchuk’s best position was, the coach replied: “He can play anywhere. In a tight rink like Manchester he really showed his skill and work rate.”

John Armstrong and Zack Fitzgerald guard the net

John Armstrong and Zack Fitzgerald guard the net