If Sheffield Steelers are to stand any chance of hauling in Elite League leaders Belfast Giants, they will need to get the better of them in Northern Ireland tonight.
Doug Christiansen’s team ensured their outside chance of landing the regular season title remained intact with a 4-1 defeat of Edinburgh Capitals at home on Wednesday night.
But those points will count for little if the Steelers return home from the Odyssey Arena in the early hours of tomorrow morning with nothing to show for their efforts.
After Belfast’s 3-2 win on home ice over Fife Flyers last night, the Steelers currently trail Paul Adey’s team by nine points with two games in hand.
There will be no time to relax for the South Yorkshire club tomorrow when they will head south to face a Coventry Blaze team rested from not being in action tonight.
Hull Stingrays, currently seventh in the overall league standings, will hope to retain their position at the top of the Gardiner Conference when they host Edinburgh tonight.
An injury-riddled Hull earned a valuable point in Thursday night’s 3-2 overtime loss at Dundee Stars, who sit one point behind them in the Conference table with four divisional games in hand.
“It is another big game for us on Saturday,” said player-coach Sylvain Cloutier. “The guys have had a day off to rest their bodies and relax after Thursday night’s game in Dundee
“We have been picking up points from our Conference games, which is important because – as we found out last season – they all matter.
“All the Conference teams will steal points from each other during thre course of the season
“We have played eight periods in the last three games with just nine or 10 guys.
“I am very proud of the guys and how they have performed in the last few games – they have logged a lot of minutes because of the injuries we have had.”