RYAN Finnerty has urged his Sheffield Steelers team to “step it up” ahead of tonight’s Elite League match at home to Dundee Stars.
Dundee player-coach Jeff Hutchins brings his players into Ice Sheffield fresh from a 9-1 mauling to visitors Cardiff Devils last Saturday – a result which inflicted a first regulation loss on home ice for the Stars.
But while the Scottish club will still be reeling from that heavy defeat, Finnerty said things were far from perfect in the Steelers’ camp, his side making hard work of beating Fife Flyers 4-2 on Sunday night, two days after going down 3-2 in the Challenge Cup at Nottingham Panthers.
And the Steelers’ head coach has called on his players to step up the pace and intensity – something he feels has been lacking in recent performances.
“We need to step it up for the whole 60 minutes,” said Finnerty. “We need to be more physical and can’t be giving teams any rest during games – something I feel we’ve been doing recently.
“I’ve challenged them to produce the intensity I know they are capable of for the whole 60 minutes.
“Dundee will come to ours looking to bounce back and prove a point – nobody likes getting beat like that, especially at home.
“But, hopefully, my guys will come out with a bit of a chip on their shoulders and play hard.”
Steelers will be without defenceman Jim Jorgenson after he broke his ankle in Nottingham and had surgery on Monday.
By way of helping soften the loss of one key import, Finnerty hopes the arrival of his latest North American signing – forward Simon Ferguson – will occur sometime in the next few days.
“It’s been a lot of hard work behind the scenes,” said Finnerty. “We didn’t want to get caught with our line in the same pond as everyone else whenever the time comes for the NHL players to return to North America.”
Canadian-born Ferguson, 29, heads to Sheffield having played more than 330 games in the American Hockey League.