PAUL THOMPSON admits to being shocked at Sheffield Steelers’ dismal record Challenge Cup record during the Elite League era - and is determined to put an end to it.
Despite a rousing four-point weekend at Belfast Giants over the weekend, Thompson’s players still remain in a five-way race for the regular season title that looks destined to go down to the wire, much like last season when the Steelers sealed the championship on the penultimate night.
Tuesday night sees the Steelers head north of the border to take on Fife Flyers in the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup with Thompson determined to maintain his side’s push for silverware on four fronts for as long as possible.
The closest Steelers came to landing the Cup since the league launched as the UK’s top flight competition back in 2003 was last year when they lost 2-1 to Cardiff Devils in the final at Sheffield Arena.
It’s a second visit of the season to Kirkcaldy for Thompson’s team, their first test there coming in the league on December 12 which they passed with flying colours in a 4-1 win.
The only other meeting between the two sides was a week earlier when the Steelers won 3-1 on home ice.
“I was honestly shocked when I first realised we hadn’t won this competition,” said Thompson.
“It’s a strange one in a way and the closest they came was last year. It would be nice to put an end to that.
“It’s going to be tough up there, in fact over both legs, so we need to prepare as hard and as thorough as we do for every other game.
“We want to make sure that we maintain the momentum we built up over the weekend in Belfast.
“They are a talented team, have good speed and are a real threat, particularly in their own building with their fans behind them.”