Sheffield Steelers: Nilsson’s speed needed for Coventry Blaze duel

Markus Nilsson’s form has been something of a revelation for Steelers’ fans recently.

Promoted to the first line, he has been a creative foil for Mathieu Roy and Colton Fretter.

But team-mate Jace Coyle shows no surprise over the success being enjoyed by the 25-year-old Swedish centre.

“He is a guy we can use anywhere, whether is it power play penalty kill first line all the way to fourth line.

“He brings consistency to the team and a lot of speed up the middle of the ice which we need at times.”

Tonight at the Arena, Sheffield host Coventry Blaze, who have won their last two games and are a different proposition from the club that began the campaign.

Markus Nilsson. Pic Dean Woolley

Markus Nilsson. Pic Dean Woolley

“They are a tough team in the second half of the season they always turn it come around, they are a completely different team in the second half than they are right off the bat, it is going to be a tough couple of contests for us this weekend” said the Canadian.

Sheffield are eight points behind league leaders Cardiff Devils, with two games in hand.

But Coyle says Steelers are “taking it one day at a time” and if the side continues to thrive they can mount a successful charge for the title.

Cardiff Devils and Belfast Giants, the two sides above Sheffield, face off against each other today, too.

Markus Nilsson steals the puck against Edinburgh Capitals, on Wednesday. Pic Dean Woolley

Markus Nilsson steals the puck against Edinburgh Capitals, on Wednesday. Pic Dean Woolley

Cardiff have no game on Sunday, so Sheffield, who play the return game against Coventry at the Skydome, will use up one of their games in hand - so the pressure on coach Paul Thompson to win both matches against his old club is clear.

Meanwhile Steelers owner Tony Smith has withdrawn his directive stopping the Supporters Club selling away tickets at the Arena.

“I got it wrong and apologise to our fan base for the upset I have caused” he said.

*Winger Robert Dowd reaches another milestone this weekend: he needs just two points for 400 points in all EIHL competitions. Defenceman Ben O’Connor requires three points for 200 points.

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