Steelers and Belfast put records on line

Sheffield Steelers' head coach Paul Thompson.
Sheffield Steelers' head coach Paul Thompson.
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PAUL THOMPSON is preparing himself for an “intriguing” weekend as the Elite League’s two form teams come head-to-head twice in as many nights.

Thompson’s Sheffield Steelers host Belfast Giants boasting a five-match winning streak. The trouble is, the visitors are on something of a hot run themselves, winning seven successive games since an opening night loss to Dundee Stars.

Four of those wins have come in the league to leave them second in the overall standings behind early-season leaders Nottingham Panthers, but with a game in hand.

The Steelers themselves have barely got started in the defence of their regular season title, their first and only league game so far seeing them taken into overtime at Dundee last Saturday before emerging 6-5 winners.

Thompson admits the next two days will represent his players’ toughest test of the domestic season so far, although having seen his team concede only two goals on home ice he is confident in their ability to nullify any Belfast threat.

“What we’ve got this weekend is the league’s two form sides coming up against each other,” said Thompson.

“They have had a great start to the season and are a very well-balanced, skilful team.

“But so are we, so it should make for a very intriguing two games.”

Steelers will enter the weekend as favourites due to enjoying home advantage and with the added bonus that Belfast will be without player-coach Derrick Walser through suspension.

“Their player-coach is going to be one of the standout players this season, so I can’t pretend to be too unhappy about him being out,” he added. “We’re all very excited about this weekend.”