Guildford Flames v Sheffield Steelers - Cup offers chance for Steelers to put out bogey side

SHEFFIELD STEELERS found themselves shut out for the only time so far this season when losing out to Coventry Blaze 2-0 on Saturday.

Sheffield Steelers' head coach, Tom Barrasso. Picture: Dean Woolley.

Wednesday night sees them required to register another first for the 2018-19 Elite League season – finding a way to beat Guildford Flames.

Paul Dixon’s talented team have won all three league encounters between the two sides so far, before last week’s 4-4 draw in the first leg of the Challenge Cup quarter-final.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Despite the weekend’s setback on home ice against Danny Stewart’s inconsistent Blaze team, there are reasons for optimism ahead of the Steelers’ trip down south for the second leg of the tie at the Flames’ Spectrum rink.

While Barrasso was unhappy with his players getting away from the gameplan against Coventry, he was buoyed by the way they had performed against the Flames in the first leg three nights earlier – a goal from Robert Dowd restoring a deserved parity at the halfway stage with just eight seconds remaining.

When asked how his team could get the better of Guildford in the return leg, Barrasso said: “You saw glimpses of it (in the first leg). I felt there were times we controlled the game, we were very difficult to play in their zone.

“But you have to defend. They are a very quick transition team and if you get caught on odd-man rushes they will put pucks in your net at a high rate and that is what they did.”

Defenceman Davey Phillips and forward Eric Neiley both remain out long-term, at least until mid-to-late January, but the Steelers’ roster will be bolstered tonight by returning centre John Armstrong, who comes back on an 18-month deal.