Steelers’ winger Robert Dowd hasn’t had much trouble finding the back of the net, this season.
But one team spared the indignity of conceding a Dowd goal, so far, is Belfast Giants. But watch Dowd put that right, tonight, says team-mate Luke Ferrara.
“He is the sort of player who, if you give him a second, he will punish you” said Ferrara. “If he’s not scored against Belfast he can’t have had many chances. But in big games you will see him step up. He is not the biggest guy, but he’s so strong, you just can’t move him off the puck. He bulldozes his way to the net. His unit with Andreas Valdix and Levi Nelson have real chemistry and they will do well in the Play Off final series.”
Sheffield take on Belfast in the semi final (5pm) hoping to play the winner of Cardiff Devils v Dundee Stars, who have the benefit of the earlier face off at 1pm.
“Belfast and us play very similar styles, with a quick pace and both forecheck hard” said Ferrara. “Like us, they don’t waste any time on the transition and try to get the puck up the ice as quick as they can. Our matches together have been close, in terms of game-play, every time, despite the odd big scoreline.
“It is always close with them. But if I was to predict a scoreline I’d go for a 3-1 win.”
In the first four matches between the rivals, Colin Shields scored for Giants. “He is a very talented player he works very hard and can put the puck in the net a few different ways. We have to try and keep him quiet.
“Derrick Walser is good on the Power Play and has a big shot. They have a lot of top players like Mike Forney and Steve Saviano. But I am confident. If ever there was a game to give us confidence going into this it was our win over Nottingham, everybody was happy with how we overcame such a deficit. My line worked hard on the forecheck last weekend and were more physical than we had been this season. Any chance we can put the puck on the net or go for a rebound on Saturday we will take it.”
After the weekend and season is over Ferrara and other Brits will keep an eye on roster-change developments, enforced by the EIHL.
“I have heard there could be a reduction in player numbers, but I don’t know any detail” he said. “Hopefully it doesn’t mean fewer Brits. We should always be looking to develop more British players, there aren’t that many of us to begin with.