Ice hockey: Jordan confident Coventry can be tamed

NHL star Matt Beleskey will line play for Coventry against Caps
NHL star Matt Beleskey will line play for Coventry against Caps
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Edinburgh CAPITALS forward Jordan Steel insists his team will not be fazed by the offensive talent on show when Coventry Blaze, including current NHL star Matt Beleskey, visit Murrayfield for their Elite League ice hockey match on Sunday (face-off 6pm).

Beleskey, who has scored 17 goals in the world’s top league, has signed for the Blaze from Anaheim Ducks until the current dispute between NHL team owners and the players union has been resolved.

The Midlands outfit, coached by ex-Team GB boss Paul Thomson, have put together an impressive attack-minded roster including brothers Greg and Brad Leeb, signed from top German side Nurnberg Ice Tigers, and impressive blue-liner Mike Shutte, who currently leads all Elite League defensemen in scoring with six goals, and nine assists.

Steel said: “We know that they’ve signed some good players, and who their dangermen are, and come game time we’ll be keeping an eye on them. For us we know that if we play our own game, and play to the best of our ability, we can beat any team in the league.

“They’re going to be tired from their match the night before (in Coventry against Sheffield Steelers), and will have had a long bus journey, if we can jump on them early, especially with us having the extra rest, and play to our potential, we could really do some damage.”

Edinburgh, who will be minus the injured pair of Canadian forward Jade Portwood and defenseman Willie Nicolson, have only won three of their 12 matches in all competitions this season, and currently sit second bottom of the ten-strong Elite League. Steel, who scored his second goal of the campaign in last Sunday’s 5-2 Forth derby success against Fife Flyers, admits they were extra fired up off the back of a poor performance in Glasgow the previous night, losing to the Braehead Clan 6-3.

He said: “The game against Braehead, we just weren’t at the races. Whereas the performance against Fife is how we should be playing week in, week out. The boys wanted to go out and show the fans and the coach that we’re good players, and that we want to win. I’m hoping we can take some confidence going forward, as that is something which has been lacking in our previous games. We need to take on board all the positives, get on a roll, pick up some more wins and see where it takes us.”

Midlothian boy Steel, 22, who divides his time between ice hockey and an electrician apprenticeship, has spent six seasons with the senior side, admitting that, until now, he has perhaps not made the most of his talent.

He revealed: “I take each game as it comes, but to be fair in years gone by I’ve not really focused on my fitness, or weight training to the extent I have this year. I worked on it in the summer with the coach (Richard Hartmann) and the results are paying off so far. I feel stronger and quicker. Richard has helped, and given me a lot more confidence to perform out on the ice.”