This time last year, the Sheffield Steelers’ brand had been forced to endure some embarrassments on ice.
Under Doug Christiansen’s rod of iron, they lost five of their nine matches in September and a third of those in October.
Now there is also an embarrassment at Steelers - but this time an embarrassment of riches.
Gerad Adams class of 2014-15 have powered through a heavy fixture list in October, losing just one of nine.
And if they win two games in Scotland next weekend, that would make it 11 victories in 12 games. And that, (whisper it) is Championship form.
Oh and here’s another stat for you: the two goals scored by man of the match Mike Forney in Saturday’s 4-1 win over Hull Stingrays rung up 13 strikes in 16 games in league and cup.
And with Pascal Morency and Rob Dowd possible returnees from injury at Edinburgh and Dundee, that makes one heck of a strong bench from which Adams has to chose.
“It is the sort of headache I like” said the coach.
Hull are no walkover. They kept the puck well and built patiently to begin with, examining the home side’s first line’s defensive ability in particular and forechecked deep.
But with Ben O’Connor and Dustin Kohn prompting from the back the chances started coming.
Hull goalie David Brown’s glove defied Jay Latulippe twice in one shift. But when Carl Lauzon gave Mark Thomas the slip, Frank Doyle had to save and then stop a follow up from Zac Hervato.Then Latulippe, drop-passed for Forney. Brown skated out too far and the forward easily rounded him to score at 11;54.
Latulippe, who is perhaps trying too hard, skated through alone on goal but mis-hit his shot.
On the game’s first power play, O’Connor played a short pass across the top of the slot to Forney, who gobbled up the chance with a first-timer.
Even short-handed Steelers looked the part; Kohn hit the bar and O’Connor pierced through Stingrays defence like a hot knife through butter.
Mathieu Roy and Forney could have added others as Sheffield’s offence swarmed the visiting defence.
Roy had failed to record a point in just two of his previous 15 games, and he got the goal his work-rate deserved on 45:14.
But hard workng Hull - rated a much improved side by Steeler Jason Hewitt - ruined any thoughts of a Doyle shut-out at 52:59 when Cory Tanaka netted.
A Power Play goal for Gord Baldwin, wrapped the night up with a couple of minutes on the clock.
Adams immediately gave his squad some time off before the trip north of the border, saying his “guys had played extremely well and their mental approach and attitude has been spot on.”
He is clearly delighted with the speed and skill of his side and their 36 shots on Hull’s goal shows how inventive they are in opening up defences.
And, while O’Connor’s future has yet to be conclusively settled, defensively Steelers seem as strong as any other Elite League side.
And that augurs well for the month of November, where no fewer than 11 games await Steelers.
VIDEO: Courtesy of Dave Burnham, Visionmix.
Dundee Stars 3 Nottingham Panthers 4 (After Overtime)
Edinburgh Capitals 4 Braehead Clan 9
Hull Stingrays 3 Fife Flyers 1
Challenge Cup Group B
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