Video: Sheffield Steelers fans hand out gongs of their own after double weekend triumph

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Some 5,820 miles away, the gongs were being presented at the Rio Olympics.

Closer to home, in the humbler surrounds of iceSheffield, Steelers’ fans were handing out their own medals after assessing the class of 2016-17.

Mathieu Roy in action for the Steelers against  Aalborg Pirates. Photo: Chris Etchells

Mathieu Roy in action for the Steelers against Aalborg Pirates. Photo: Chris Etchells

Their team beat a Danish side (with an average age of 23) Aalborg Pirates 4-1 on Saturday and 5-1 on Sunday.

It was, hopefully, sound preparation for the team’s assault on the Champions Hockey League, which starts on Thursday, at HV17’s rink in Jönköping, Sweden.

In reverse order, the Sheffield ice podium might look like this:

BRONZE: Markus Nilsson, who must be the League’s best fourth line centre and a penalty-killer extraordinaire.

SILVER: Returning goaltender Ervins Mustukovs, who looks like he’s never been away and whose bright orange pads eats pucks.

GOLD: The eight debutant skaters, including Great Britain’s Davey Phillips, who fitted in comfortably with last year’s core group.

Now coach Paul Thompson will doubtless concentrate on the plenty of positives from his week-long training camp and two friendlies, while ironing out the odd wrinkle, here and there.

He expects HV71 to be “a way, way higher standard” than the Danes managed.

“They are one of the top teams in Europe,” he said. “That is nothing against Aalborg, whatsoever. But it (Swedish elite) is another level.”

“You dare not go for broke offensively against teams of that calibre,” said Thompson.

“If you do they will expose you, so we have got to play a smart, disciplined road game.”

He said his new-look side knew all about the calibre of the Swedish Hockey League and accepted it would be a huge achievement if the team was to go to HV17 and to Red Bull Salzburg at the weekend, and win both.

“We are under no illusions of the task that faces us.

“But we are in the game to win. And we are going there to win. We know it is going to be a real good contest.”

On Saturday, new import Jesse Schultz took just 79 seconds to usher in the first goal of the new campaign.

It was his first shift, on a cracking unit with Tyler Mosienko and Guillaume Desbiens.

A superior piece of skating from the feisty Mike Ratchuk set up a second for man-of-the-match Levi Nelson, six minutes later.

While Aalborg’s Lasse Jul Karsgaard punished a rare defensive mistake near the end, an empty-netter from Nilsson ensured 4-1 victory.

Sunday saw a Pirates’ side which bore the hallmarks of a telling-off from their coach; certainly they were more dynamic and offensive.

Aalborg went ahead on a Power Play through Canadian import Peter Quenneville; they were unlucky with two or three other chances, too.

But a 5-on-3 penalty was executed by Steelers, d-man Ben O’Connor blasting the equaliser at 12;12.

There were some edgy moments, with Desbiens suffering a facial injury when Aalborg skipper Julian Jakobsen ploughed him into the boards.

Nelson opened up a two-goal margin when he arrowed through the centre of a flailing Pirates defence at 26.30.

Steelers needed to defend intelligently - a characteristic they will need on Thursday.

But they roamed forward freely too, Rob Dowd knocking in number four from the slot at 50;34 to duplicate Saturday’s scoreline.

A backhander from Andreas Valdix added a fifth at 56;32 with the visitors running out of steam.