Netminder Matthew Greenfield produced a standout performance as the Sheffield Steelers dominated the Nottingham Panthers on Saturday [30 September].
The Parkland, Florida native turned aside every shot he faced to backstop Aaron Fox’s squad to a remarkable 6-0 win at the Motorpoint Arena and cement his place in British Ice Hockey’s team of the week.
“We came out extremely ready to play hockey,” said Fox of his side’s win in Nottingham.
“I’ve felt that our first periods have been our weakest this season, so we spoke about the importance of coming out hot and we did that tonight… it was a great team effort with a lot of good individual performances out there. It’s been a really good start to our year.”
Elsewhere in the Elite League, the Fife Flyers upset the Coventry Blaze at the Skydome Arena, while the Belfast Giants continued their perfect start to the campaign with wins over the Glasgow Clan and Flyers.
Matthew Greenfield headlines EIHL Team of the Week
Matthew Greenfield (Sheffield Steelers)
Greenfield was perfect as the Steelers put the Panthers to the sword to open the weekend’s action, pitching a 29-save shutout to secure two crucial points in the Challenge Cup.
The American was busier than the six-goal scoreline suggests, denying 16 attempts taken inside the slot, including a high-danger scoring chance carved out by Swedish forward Alexander Lunsjö.
Greenfield is comfortably in the conversation as one of the best netminders in the Elite League and proved why with his performance on Saturday, moving sharply between his posts to nullify the Panthers’ cross-seam passes.
Greenfield, who holds a .912 save percentage on the year, saved more than two goals above expected against Nottingham and is therefore a natural choice for team of the week.
Tyler Beskorowany notched the weekend’s other shutout, producing a 19-save performance to frustrate the Flyers on the road.
Ben Bowns also enjoyed a weekend to remember and will feel he at least matched Greenfield, marking his return to action with two wins and a smoking .941 save percentage.
Cody Donaghey (Cardiff Devils)
Cody Donaghey is a first-class, top-pair defenceman at this level and has already made quite the impression on his new team, with four points in as many games for the Cardiff Devils.
The Canadian was a force to be reckoned with in the second weekend of the season, totalling three points (two goals, one assist) as the Devils downed the Glasgow Clan 5-2 on Saturday.
Donaghey demonstrated his defensive prowess on the second half of the Devils’ back-to-back, producing a 28-minute performance as Cardiff saw off the threat of the Steelers.
The 27-year-old, who arrives in the Elite League from Hungarian outfit Fehervar AV19, skates well, makes smart defensive reads, and is a threat with the puck on his stick.
Pete Russell will lean on Donaghey heavily this term.
Dryden Dow (Dundee Stars)
The Dundee Stars contested a home-and-home series with the Manchester Storm this weekend, winning in Scotland after experiencing defeat a day earlier south of the border.
Dryden Dow was a sturdy performer throughout, tallying three points (one goal, two assists) over the course of the weekend. The Calgary-born defender plays in all situations for Dundee, averaging more than 25:00 time on ice per appearance.
Confident in all three zones, Dow will be crucial for the Stars as they seek to move up the table under the direction of new head coach Marc LeFebvre.
Cole Ully (Cardiff Devils)
Cole Ully, a former draft pick of the Dallas Stars, enjoyed a blistering weekend of hockey on Cardiff’s second line, totalling three assists through 32:28 time on ice.
Creative with the puck on his stick, the Canadian has proven himself as a prolific playmaker at the professional level and is off to a fine start with the Devils.
Ully has already forged a solid relationship with Jamie Arnell and Justin Crandall, a line which will expect to dominate middle-six minutes this term.
Troy Lajeunesse (Fife Flyers)
In his first full professional season, Troy Lajeunesse has the look of a player who will thrive in the Elite League.
The 26-year-old was a dominant performer in Coventry on Sunday, leaving the Skydome Arena with four points (two goals, two assists) and a plus-five on-ice goal-differential through 20:35 of deployment.
Lajeunesse, joined by Kyle Osterberg and Johan Eriksson on Fife’s top attacking unit, was a hive of activity through centre ice, tormenting Coventry’s blueline with dynamic plays through the neutral zone.
Ryan Tait (Guildford Flames)
While the Guildford Flames are yet to recapture their form from last season, forward Ryan Tait has made a commendable start to the campaign.
The American was a key performer as Paul Dixon’s side overcame Coventry on Saturday, notching a goal and an assist in a hard-fought 3-2 win. He also tallied an assist in Guildford’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Panthers on Sunday.
Did Matthew Greenfield make your team of the week? Join the conversation in the replies.