THE possibility of doing the double is providing extra motivation for Sheffield Steelers in the Elite League play-offs this weekend.
Crowned as regular season champions two weeks ago, Gerad Adams’s team are favourites to now add the play-off trophy that they won in such memorable fashion in Nottingham last year.
A nervy one-goal aggregate win over Fife Flyers in last weekend’s quarter-finals saw the Steelers book their place in the final four, the post-season top seeds squaring up against Hull Stingrays in today’s first semi-final (1pm) with Belfast Giants or Coventry Blaze awaiting in tomorrow’s final.
The Steelers have twice won the double in the Elite League era, the last time coming under Dave Matsos in 2008-09 and captain Jonathan Phillips said the chance to emulate those teams was an added motivation this weekend.
“We’re very determined to do the double,” said Phillips. “It would be a great achievement. I think when we lost out in the Challenge Cup final that hurt and was something that we wanted to desperately win too.
“The play-off trophy is the last one of the season and you want to go into the summer having won your last game – you’ve got the whole summer as champions.”
The Steelers go into today’s encounter with Hull as firm favourites to progress having won all six previous matches between the two this season.
The most recent play-off meeting between the two came three years ago when, under Ryan Finnerty, the Steelers were ousted at the quarter-final stage after Hull – led by a Derek Campbell hat-trick – won 5-2 at Ice Sheffield, giving them a 7-4 aggregate win and a place in the final four at Nottingham.