MARK Thomas says Sheffield Steelers have almost reached their limit for Elite League losses this season as they ready themselves for what could prove a pivotal weekend.
The Steelers spend the next two days at the Motorpoint Arena, first taking on Coventry Blaze tonight (7pm) before a crucial encounter against league leaders Nottingham Panthers tomorrow.
The margin for error on the part of the Steelers is minute, with many people convinced any ground lost on Nottingham this weekend signalling the end of their title bid.
But, with four games still to come between the two rivals, and the continued influence of second-placed Belfast Giants in proceedings, 29-year-old defenceman Thomas is convinced there will be plenty more twists and turns before the end of the regular season on March 24.
“Given the new conference system, it’s going to take a couple of years before teams at the top can work out roughly how many games they can afford to lose,” said Thomas. “I think we’re not far off our limit for this season.
“In past years, you would look to be losing no more than five games in the season to give yourselves a realstic chance of winning the league.
“We’re seven points behind Nottingham so we know we can’t afford to lose too many more.”
Steelers enter the weekend in fine fettle, boasting a four-game win-streak, a sequence which has given them immense confidence.
“We seem to have sorted out a few things on the ice in the last couple of weeks and we’re a confident bunch at the moment,” added Thomas.
“Between now and the end of the regular season we know every weekend is like the biggest weekend of the season for us – regardless of who we are playing.
“There’s no point in us beating Nottingham if we then go and lose somewhere else.”