Finnerty delivers

Mike Ramsay pust the Steelers ahead in the opening minute
Mike Ramsay pust the Steelers ahead in the opening minute

In July we were all happy just to have a club.

In August we were all preoccupied with the former Steelers greats returning for the legends game.

Come September we seemed happy enough with the team and the same went for October as the wins started coming.

We all sat there and thought good job Ryan Finnerty in this re-building year.

As November ended we started to get excited; this team was third but had several games in hand. It wasn’t really possible that in his first year Finnerty could deliver, was it?

Well last weekend he took each and every one of us into a corner and knocked our heads together and said: “Too right we can challenge for another title - now get behind us and we will show you how.”

And boy did they show us that this Steelers team is more than up and ready for the challenge.

Live on TV last Friday the Steelers never gave up as they battled from behind to tie the game with league leaders Belfast Giants in the final minute and then go on to win the game in overtime.

Twenty-four hours later in Coventry with the game tied 1-1 and the Blaze on the power-play with only five minutes remaining the Steelers again showed their tenacity in scoring short handed to grab victory.

In their third successive game the Steelers then took on Braehead Clan. Tired and on their last legs Finnerty’s side led 3-1 before being pegged back to 3-3 in the closing moments. Another period loomed and somehow the Steelers gathered enough strength to beat the Clan in overtime with Francis Trudel scoring his first goal for the club.

Those three wins and the way the Steelers won them must tell us now that Finnerty and his team of grafters are ready to not only challenge but to win another Elite League title.

This team just doesn’t know it’s beaten. Even new players like Trudel just buy into what Finnerty has installed. Trudel flew out of Canada on Thursday morning and arrived in Manchester later that night. He then played three games in three nights and scored the winner in the 11th session of hockey within a 52-hour period.

It might have taken a while for it to sink in to us that follow the Steelers but Ryan has built another winning Steelers side.

Finnerty is a quick learner but many thought he wouldn’t be able to handle the pressures of playing and coaching that his hot-headed temper would get the better of him. Last Friday he and his team kept their discipline better than the over-coached Giants and that was the difference come the final hooter.

Steelers play back-to-back games this weekend against an improving Fife Flyers side who have recently added former Steeler Dan Ceman to their line up.

On Saturday they take to Arena ice for a 7pm face off before driving to Scotland for the return leg on Sunday.

Neil Clark is expected back in the Steelers line up for the game after being the spare import last weekend.

Clark is a proud man and it won’t have been easy for him to stand and watch his teammates play three games last week. I expect Clark to come back with a bang. My prediction is for Steelers to win both games.

Sheffield is on the verge again people. A new coach, a new era, a new time with new Steelers stars but yet again the club seems to have found the right chemistry to deliver success both on and off the ice.