CHRIS BLIGHT believes Sheffield Steelers have hit form at just the right time as they stand one game away from their first Elite League play-off final since 2009.
On that occasion, the Steelers defeated Nottingham Panthers 2-0 for their second successive play-off triumph under then coach Dave Matsos.
If they are to make it to the season’s finale this time around at the National Ice Centre in Nottingham, they will have to negotiate a way past Braehead Clan, coached by former Steelers’ boss Ryan Finnerty.
Blight switched to the Steelers from Elite League rivals Cardiff Devils at the beginning of February when he was halfway through his second season in South Wales.
The move came as something of a surprise to Devils fans, who had taken him to their hearts after he made a massive impact during his first year there, scoring a staggering 90 points - including 28 goals - in 63 games.
In what proved to be a more difficult year generally for the Devils, Blight still impressed during the first four months of the campaign, scoring 40 points, including seven goals, before being moved on to the Steelers, who were looking for a replacement for forward Rob Sirianni, who had returned to Italy.
Blight has slotted into the Steelers’ roster with ease, quickly making himself a popular member in the locker room.
His coach at Cardiff, Gerad Adams, subsequently joined him in Sheffield a month later to replace the axed Doug Christiansen and has presided over an impressive run of form from the Steelers, who have won nine out of the 11 games under their new coach.
“Winning is contagious and we kind of have that in the room right now, so we’re very excited about the weekend,” said Blight, who grabbed a couple of assists in the two-legged quarter-final 9-3 aggregate victory over Coventry Blaze.
“‘G’ has had a great effect on the team here since he came in. He has a different approach to the previous coach. He’s been pretty simple with the way he’s done things, he’s been positive and the guys have kind of fed off that.”
Blight admitted losing the team’s top points scorer this season in Jeff Legue, who broke his jaw after being struck by the puck in Coventry last weekend, would naturally effect the team’s offensive prowess, but backed the rest of the squad to make up for the loss of such an influential player, who has contributed 68 points, including 27 goals, in 63 games.
“Braehead have a lot of firepower and, obviously, with us missing our top scorer for the season right now it’s going to be tough to match that.
“So we’re going to have to play a really smart game, limit their chances and make sure we bury ours when they come along.
“Missing ‘Leggy’ is going to be really tough, but I think the guys will get together and make sure that we all step up.”