GERAD ADAMS believes maintaining an even keel will be key to any success Sheffield Steelers enjoy this season.
As they prepare to welcome Cardiff Devils to the Motorpoint Arena tonight, the South Yorkshire club are currently level on points at the top of the standings with Braehead Clan, the Scottish club only being top by virtue of having won one more game in regulation.
Their cause was helped no end by four points from last weekend – following up Saturday night’s 3-2 home win over third-placed Nottingham Panthers with a 4-1 win on the road at Fife Flyers.
The previous weekend, however, saw the Steelers emerge with just a single point from their two games, although the setback did not unduly worry head coach Adams.
“As a team, we discussed how we were going to approach this season and it is, literally, just by taking it game by game,” said Adams, who hopes to have forward Danny Bois back on the ice for tonight’s game after he picked up an injury on his debut three weeks ago.
“That’s why we weren’t too down about the previous weekend when we took just the point and why we didn’t get too carried away with anything after last weekend.
“You just can’t afford to look too far ahead in this league.”
With only six points separating the top five teams in the overall league standings, Adams expects that leading pack to reduce to two or three candidates come the end of January.
It would be a surprise if the Steelers are not one of those still in the regular season title race heading into those final weeks, and Adams admits that he is very happy with the way the season is shaping up, thanks mainly, he insists, to the attitude and consistent performances of his squad.
“I’m really happy with things at the moment,” added Adams.
“The results are good and the performances are there too, which is really important.
“The Nottingham game at home last Saturday was a massive game for us and we played extremely well that night and got what we deserved.
“The fact the top few places are so tight doesn’t surprise me in the slightest – there are some good teams around.”
Adams said the club were “aggressively” looking for a forward to replace Jay Latulippe, who departed on Wednesday to return to former club Kristianstads IK in Sweden.
“Jay left on good terms and there was no way I was going to stand in his way after the offer he had,” added Adams.
“We are being highly aggressive in terms of looking for a replacement for him, but it’s not easy as it’s a pretty dry market at the moment.”
So far this season, honours have been shared between the Steelers and Cardiff, both winning two games apiece.
The Challenge Cup saw road wins by a 3-2 scoreline for both teams, before the Steelers took the honours in the opening league game between the two teams when goals from Colton Fretter, Mike Forney, Mathieu Roy (2) and Tyler Mosienko earned them a 5-3 home win. The Devils soon had their revenge, however, winning 5-2 in South Wales the following night.
“They have got a very deep hockey team down there,” said Adams. “Their home record is always a big part of their season, but they’ve got all their imports performing well and producing which is a big thing for any team in this league.”