SHEFFIELD STEELERS’ players will no doubt still be hurting slightly this morning after they were unable to prevent Cardiff Devils from inheriting their Elite League title on Saturday night in South Yorkshire.
While there was no formal trophy presentation to Andrew Lord’s side, the fact they were able to celebrate a first regular season championship in the EIHL era with their travelling fans will not have been easy for their hosts to stomach.
It was a deserved 6-2 win on the night for the Devils and, overall, a fully-merited title, the South Wales club wrapping things up with a week to spare.
Cardiff will now turn their attentions to a possible grand slam and remain favourites to clinch the Erhardt Conference title next week in a double-header against Belfast Giants.
But for the Steelers the season and the hunt for silverware is far from over as they set out on a new, far shorter journey to end the campaign on a high by lifting the play-off trophy at Nottingham’s National Ice Centre on Sunday, April 9 – thereby denying the dominant Devils the aforementioned grand slam.
The Steelers can still finish as regular season runners-up, a situation which would give them a higher post-season seeding and avoid a two-legged quarter-final encounter with arch-rivals Nottingham Panthers.
But whoever they end up facing in the first round of the play-offs, Steelers’ head coach Paul Thompson is confident his players can cope in order make the Final Four Weekend.
“You don’t want other teams winning trophies in your rink because that means you’re not winning,” said Thompson. “But Cardiff fully deserve it. They’ve got a great club and Lord’s done a great job there.
“There’s no bitterness from me, it’s just frustration that it was not us celebrating out there.
“We’ve got to come back on Tuesday, have a good look at ourselves and get ready because there’s another trophy to play for.
“We’ve been playing well this past two weeks, really well. We’re hurt right now, but we know that we’re still capable of achieving something special this season.”
We’ve been playing well this past two weeks, really well. We’re hurt right now, but we know that we’re still capable of achieving something special this season.Sheffield Steelers’ head coach, Paul Thompson.