HEAD COACH Tom Barrasso is surprised to find his Sheffield Steelers team taking on Cardiff Devils in the first round of the Elite League playoffs – but believes they should have nothing to fear.
Cardiff went into their final game of the season at Coventry Blaze on Sunday night knowing just a point was required to edge out regular season title rivals Belfast Giants and pick up a third straight championship.
But, in one of the biggest upsets of the campaign, Coventry won 3-1, handing the trophy to Belfast and leaving Cardiff still in search of their first piece of silverware in 2018-19.
“It’s surprising (Cardiff being beaten by Coventry) – Cardiff are a very good team and will be very disappointed to have not won the league having led for most of the season,” said Barrasso.
“But it just goes to show they are fallible and can be beaten.
“We’ve beaten them ourselves on one occasion, but they’ve made us look bad on a few occasions.”
It just goes to show they are fallible and can be beaten. We’ve beaten them ourselves on one occasion, but they’ve made us look bad on a few occasions.Sheffield Steelers’ head coach, Tom Barrasso.
Those bad occasions have generally come in South Wales for the Steelers, where three visits have brought three heavy defeats and seen them concede 20 goals while scoring just four.
But a 5-4 home win for the Steelers just over two weeks ago will be used as a positive ahead of the first leg, which takes place in Sheffield on Saturday when the hosts will be looking to take some kind of lead down to Cardiff for the return leg 24 hours later.
“We’ve played them hard in our building so I think that’s a good bonus for us from a confidence perspective,” added Barrasso.
“But for us it is going to be about work and commitment.”