David Phillips hoping to see Sheffield Steelers make earlier impact

DAVID PHILLIPS has no concerns about Sheffield Steelers' staying power '“ he just wishes they could have more impact earlier on in games.

MAKE IT COUNT: Defenceman David Phillips, in action during the pre-season exhibition game against Timra. Picture: Dean Woolley.

In three of the four competitive games played by the Steelers this season, only once have they taken the lead first.

That came in Wednesday night’s encounter at Sheffield Arena against Fife Flyers before then having to twice come from behind before stealing the extra point in overtime through Jordan Owens’s quick hands.

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Last weekend saw them out-shoot rivals Milton Keynes Lightning by 93-55 over the course of two nights. On both occasions, Doug McKay’s team took first-period leads, a situation which ultimately proved costly in Sheffield when the visitors prevailed 3-2.

The Steelers were able to use their strength in depth the following night in Buckinghamshire to greater effect when a four-goal blitz in the third period earned them swift revenge with a 5-2 win.

Tonight sees Manchester Storm visit Sheffield Arena for a Challenge Cup, Group A encounter (7pm) before Paul Thompson’s team hit the road tomorrow to take on Guildford Flames in the league.

“It’s a good sign that we are able to come back in games and score goals in the third period,” said defenceman Phillips. “But we need to make sure when we are getting chances earlier on in games that we do punish teams.

“It’s about making an impact on the game earlier – both mentally and physically.”

As with the opening home league game against the Lightning in front of a sellout crowd, Wednesday’s visit from Fife again proved a tricky night for the Steelers, both visitors employing a defensive, counter-attacking style to the frustration of Thompson’s players.

But GB international Phillips, now in his third season with the Steelers, is convinced there is enough experience on the roster to deal with such situations.

“Nobody is panicking when we go behind in games,” he added. “There’s a lot of experience that has helped us come back in games already. With the arrival of players like Aaron Johnson, Evan McGrath and Jordan Owens, we’ve got plenty of cool heads, together with the guys who were already here.”