SHEFFIELD Steelers head to Edinburgh today for a weekend double-header hoping they can bring back enough points to keep up the pressure on their Elite League title rivals.
Ryan Finnerty’s team head to Scotland lying third in the table, but with plenty of games in hand on leaders Belfast Giants – who won 3-2 after a shoot-out at Braehead last night – and second-placed Nottingham Panthers.
On paper, the Steelers should bring back four points from their two games against a seventh-placed Edinburgh Capitals side who have lost their last five games. But Finnerty – who headed north last night with assistant-coach Ashley Tait to watch Belfast at Braehead – was impressed enough on his team’s previous visit to Murrayfield three weeks ago, when they won 4-3, to know his players will have to be at their most resilient again.
“It’s a huge weekend for us,” said Finnerty. “People perhaps won’t expect us to drop points but they’re a tough team at home.”
Hull Stingrays will look to strengthen their post-season play-off claims with their own double-header against Cardiff Devils.
The first of the two encounters will be in South Wales tonight, where Hull recorded their first victory under Cloutier on their last visit back in November, winning 3-2 after a shoot-out.
“Cardiff are one of the hottest teams right now, but if we play our game we can compete against anyone,” said Cloutier.
Experienced defenceman Dmitry Rodin will be back in the line-up after missing out last weekend following the birth of his child.
ANDRE Payette will hope to mark his first anniversary as Sheffield Steeldogs’ player-coach with victory in the English Premier League at Swindon Wildcats tonight. The two face each other again tomorrow at Ice Sheffield (5.30pm).