Steelers looking for crowd boost on return to familiar territory

HELLO AGAIN: Mike Forney scores a goal in the 5-3 win against Cardiff Devils on October 18 - the last time the Steelers played at Motorpoint Arena. Picture: Dean Woolley.
HELLO AGAIN: Mike Forney scores a goal in the 5-3 win against Cardiff Devils on October 18 - the last time the Steelers played at Motorpoint Arena. Picture: Dean Woolley.
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SHEFFIELD STEELERS are hoping for some overdue ‘home’ comforts when they return for a Motorpoint Arena double header this weekend.

It’s been three weeks since Gerad Adams’s team stepped out at their natural home, their last appearance producing a 5-3 win against their head coach’s former club Cardiff Devils on October 18.

The Steelers - currently fourth in the overall Elite League standings - have played at their second home of ice Sheffield since then, winning comfortably against Edinburgh Capitals, Hull Stingrays and Fife Flyers, but it is the big ice of the Arena that they prefer playing on.

Their preference for playing at the 8,000-seat rink will be severely tested this weekend when they play host to the league’s top two teams, Belfast Giants arriving on Saturday before the arrival 24 hours later of Braehead Clan, currently top of the standings under former Steelers’ coach Ryan Finnerty.

Belfast’s previous visit to South Yorkshire this season ended in a 3-2 defeat, with Colton Fretter scoring the game-winning goal for the Steelers. Sunday marks the first meeting of the season between Steelers and Braehead.

In an attempt to get some vociferous home support behind them for what is arguably the biggest weekend of the season so far, the club have embarked on a huge discount promotion, distributing flyers to 60,000 homes in and around the Steel City.

The special deal offers fans the chance to attend both games for £25 (£19 concessions and £10 for kids) - normal matchday tickets cost £16.50 per game for adults.

To claim discounted tickets, fans have to either go down in person to the Arena box office or contact 0114 256 5656.

Hull Stingrays take on Coventry Blaze in back-to-back Challenge Cup Group B matches this weekend knowing three points will be enough to see them through to the quarter-finals.

“To get out of this group would be a great accomplishment,” said player-coach Omar Pacha, whose options have been boosted by the arrival of American forward Will Frederick, who will make his debut in Coventry tonight. Zach Hervato (wrist) may return to the fray.

“There are a lot of possibilities this weekend and we have a good chance to qualify.”

Stingrays also come up against a familiar face in Jereme Tendler this weekend, the Canadian forward who posted 292 points (172 goals and 120 assists) in just 228 games for Stingrays between 2010-14 before moving to Coventry in the summer.

Tendler surpassed 40 goals three times, but now he faces his former side for the first time.

Pacha added: “We know what a guy like Jereme can do and if you give him an inch he will take advantage.”