TOM BARRASSO is hoping that the rhythm of regular games can help his Sheffield Steelers establish some form of consistency over the coming weeks.
The Steelers lost out 3-2 to leaders Cardiff Devils on Wednesday night, but there were plenty of encouraging signs in the hosts’ performance against Andrew Lord’s team, who stretched their lead at the top of the Elite League standings to 11 points in their pursuit of a third straight regular season title.
As for the Steelers, they remain outside the top eight play-off positions – albeit by just a single point – as they prepare for a weekend against two rivals also battling to make the post-season.
Pete Russell’s Glasgow Clan team visit Sheffield Arena tonight on the back of a three-game winning streak and having strengthened their grip on fifth spot with a 2-0 triumph at bottom club Milton Keynes on Thursday,
The Steelers then head to Manchester Storm tomorrow, to face a Ryan Finnerty team sitting immediately above them in the eighth and final play-off spot.
So tight is the middle of the table at the moment that the Steelers could conceivably finish anywhere from third to 10th come the end of the regular season.
Head coach Barrasso has steadfastly refused to look too far ahead ever since taking over the coaching reins in early October.
But he is looking for the upcoming schedule of games to help focus his players’ minds on the task in hand between now and the end of the season.
“These are important games for us this weekend,” said Barrasso, who is hoping to have GB international defenceman Davey Phillips back in the line-up after missing 18 games with a hand injury.
“The nice thing is that we are really starting to have a bit of a roll to our games.
“It is not a case of playing on a Saturday and a Sunday and then not playing again until the following week.
“That helps us 100 per cent, I feel. I think it is fresher in the players’ minds, the feeling of battling and competing and it is much easier to therefore stay up and motivated for the games when they flow like that.”
It is fresher in the players’ minds, the feeling of battling and competing and it is much easier to therefore stay up and motivated for the games when they flow like that.Sheffield Steelers’ head coach, Tom Barrasso