Sheffield Steelers target trophies not individual scoring races

Levi Nelson at Coventry Blaze. Pic by Scott Wiggins
Levi Nelson at Coventry Blaze. Pic by Scott Wiggins

It doesn’t bother Sheffield Steelers that they only have one player in the current top 20 Elite League scoring charts.

“The main thing is our team is winning hockey games” says Levi Nelson, who snubbed medical advice last weekend to return to the Steelers fold despite hand and knee complaints.

“Success doesn’t always reflect how many points an individual has. It is all about doing everything you can to help your team so that it has a trophy at the end of the season” he said.

Nelson scored a goal and an assist against Fife Flyers as his patience with being out on the sidelines snapped.

He watched his team-mate Andreas Valdix score an assist in Saturday’s game which ensured the Swede was 20th overall in the scoring race, which is currently led by Matt Beca of Braehead Clan.

But the winger is more focused now on helping provide a double-winning for Steelers when they play back to back games with Coventry Blaze.

Sheffield played a friendly in Coventry on Tuesday, but Nelson said there would be a “flick of the switch” before the pair met again at the House of Steel.

“It was great to be a part of a charitable night but there will be a change of mindset.

“It is a big weekend and we are going after four points (Challenge Cup and then League.) Saturday has to be about putting on a show for our fans.”

Nelson has respect for Blaze’s top scorer, fellow Canadian Matt Marquardt, who arrived from Florida Everblades.

“He is a great player.”

“He has a hard shot who knows how to find the back of the net and is skilled. We will have to focus on him and try to take away the time and space he needs to score.”

Marquardt is sixth top points-taker with two goals and seven assists from ten games - in a team that is struggling to score enough goals.

*While Marquardt leads the League-only scoring charts, Steelers’ Mathieu Roy is joint top after all games (including Cup.)

* Great Britain defenceman Mark Richardson says next week’s games against Norway can be a stepping stone for next year’s World Championship.

GB will host the Division 1B tournament in Belfast’s SSE Arena in April 2017, as they look to secure promotion to Division 1A.

As preparation for next year’s championships, GB will play back-to-back matches against Norway next week.

The two sides go head-to-head at the National Ice Centre on Tuesday 1st November (7:30pm), followed by a meeting in Ice Arena Wales on Wednesday 2nd November (7:30pm).

Norway, who are ranked 11th in the world, play in the top level of the World Championship structure and recently qualified for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

A squad of 43 has been named by head coach Pete Russell and the roster has been split into two teams - and Cardiff blueliner Richardson will play at the rink of his former club Nottingham on Tuesday.

“I’m really looking forward to it and it’s going to be something different,” said the 30-year-old.

“We have been in Division 1B for the last few years and this is going to be quite a step up playing against Norway.

“It will be a real test and hopefully we can use it as a stepping stone for the World Championship at the end of the season.

“Norway have taken their programme forward and are now a Pool A nation.

“That’s what Great Britain, as a nation, would like to achieve and we can look at them and try and replicate it.”