SHEFFIELD STEELERS should use their midweek win at Guildford Flames as a springboard to produce the so-far elusive consistency that could earn them a place in the Elite League playoffs, says captain Jonathan Phillips.
A substantial winning streak has proved elusive so far this season for Tom Barrasso’s team, their best winning run being four games back in November.
The table is absolutely bananas this season. I don’t think it has ever been this close between so many teams in terms of making it into the playoffs.Sheffield Steelers# captain, Jonathan Phillips
It is in stark contrast to the top two of Cardiff Devils and Belfast Giants, who have each posted 10-game winning streaks, plus a separate eight-game run, this season.
It has been well-chronicled how much of a difficult campaign it has been for the Steelers – a change of coach after a month, injuries and a number of player departures – but Phillips is hopeful the five-time champions can produce a final flourish.
“We need that winning streak we’ve not had yet more than ever,” said Phillips, who leads his team out on home ice tonight for the second meeting in four days against a Guildford team who now sit just two points ahead following the Steelers’ 2-1 win at The Spectrum on Wednesday night.
“It would be great just to grab them points and get them banked and locked in and so that helps starting to put the pressure on the other teams.”
The win in Surrey lifted the Steelers back into the top eight play-off positions for the first time since January 13.
While welcoming that move, Phillips says it matters little at this point, the 35-year-old veteran fully expecting plenty more twists and turns in the race for the play-offs between now and the final round of games on March 31.
“Wednesday was a start and we need to build on that now,” added Phillips. “The table is absolutely bananas this season. I don’t think it has ever been this close between so many teams in terms of making it into the play-offs.
“I think it will go down to that final weekend before it is all sorted, but I hope that we have already made the play-offs by then – preferably by putting together the kind of winning streak we haven’t been able to yet.”