DEFENCEMAN Mark Thomas insists Sheffield Steelers are still in the frame for the Elite League title.
With 22 regular season games remaining, the South Yorkshire club sit third in the overall standings and trail leaders Belfast Giants by 13 points, with a game in hand and four meetings still to come between the two sides.
“We believe that we can still close the gap on Belfast,” said Thomas. “There are plenty of big nights to come this season and we’ve got to play them a few more times.
“We’ve hopefully come through the worst of our injury problems too, which is always crucial in this league – Belfast have been lucky with injuries so far so, hopefully, their time will come.”
Steelers host an out-of-sorts Coventry Blaze at the Motorpoint Arena tonight (7pm), who are without a win in four but buoyed by the return of brothers Michael and Adam Henrich from injury.
While Thomas admits the siblings’ return will provide a timely boost for the Blaze, he believes Steelers seven-game winning streak at home can be extended.
“Those two guys make Coventry such a better hockey club,” said Thomas. “Both of them have a big presence out on the ice and they make such a difference.
“But we’ve found a way to win at home recently, I think we’ve finally figured it out.
“Being strong at home is something we have always prided ourselves on here and when we found it difficult at the start of the season and I think that got in our heads a little bit.”
Like Coventry, Steelers have also been boosted ahead of tonight’s game with the return of captain Steven Goertzen from injury.
Defenceman Dustin Kohn also returns after serving a three-game suspension.