Play-off title now fixed firmly in Sheffield Steelers’ sights

Sheffield Steelers' captain, Jonathan Phillips, contemplats last Sunday's Challenge Cup Final defeat to former club, Cardiff Devils. Picture: Dean Woolley.
Sheffield Steelers' captain, Jonathan Phillips, contemplats last Sunday's Challenge Cup Final defeat to former club, Cardiff Devils. Picture: Dean Woolley.
0
Have your say

SHEFFIELD STEELERS’ captain Jonathan Phillips believes his team will use their league and Challenge Cup misery to fire themselves up in order to land a fifth Elite League play-off title.

While a 4-1 home defeat to Coventry Blaze effectively ended their regular season title defence, more woe was to follow 24 hours later when they lost out to Cardiff Devils in the Challenge Cup Final.

And while the Devils can still entertain thoughts of a treble (or a quadruple if the Conference title is included) the Steelers must now turn their focus solely on lifting the post-season silverware in Nottingham on Sunday, April 9.

And while the long bus trip home from South Wales may have been a quiet one last weekend, Phillips insists there has been plenty of positivity about the Steelers camp ever since they returned to training in midweek ahead of tonight’s trip to Gardiner Conference champions, Braehead Clan, coached by former Steelers boss and player Ryan Finnerty.

“Obviously, we were down on the bus home on Sunday – it was a tough one to take, losing out in the final to Cardiff again like we did two years ago,” said the Steelers’ captain.

“But we’re trying to learn from that and the experience we have in the room and the players we have had come in this season is why you play in Sheffield – because of that expectation to win. We’re really determined and focused on the play-offs.

“From this point, everything has got to be about building our momentum up, first making sure we get to Nottingham for the final four and then taking it on from there.

“The mindset is there within our room that we can still finish this season off with a trophy.

“Anything can happen in the play-offs. It’s a fun one to win because you go into the summer as a winner and on a high.”

After their trip to Glasgow, the Steelers return home to face last Sunday’s Cup final opponents once again, the first of two meetings at the Sheffield Arena between the rivals in eight days.

Sheffield Steelers will face off against Cardiff Devils again at home on Sunday night. Picture: Dean Woolley.

Sheffield Steelers will face off against Cardiff Devils again at home on Sunday night. Picture: Dean Woolley.

After last night’s 7-3 win over Nottingham Panthers, Belfast Giants lie just five points adrift of Cardiff, having played a game more.

With the Giants facing a double-header in Cardiff on the final weekend of the regular season, nobody would appreciate the Steelers exacting some swift revenge tomorrow night more than them.

The mindset is there within our room that we can still finish this season off with a trophy.

Sheffield Steelers’ captain, Jonathan Phillips
Former Steelers' head coach, Ryan Finnerty, will prepare an uncomfortable welcome for his old club in Glasgow on Saturday night.

Former Steelers' head coach, Ryan Finnerty, will prepare an uncomfortable welcome for his old club in Glasgow on Saturday night.