CAPTAIN Jonathan Phillips is keen for his Sheffield Steelers’ side not to put too much pressure on themselves when they host Fife Flyers at Sheffield Arena tonight (7.30pm).
The Steelers got their Elite League regular season campaign up and running with a 5-2 win at Milton Keynes Lightning on Sunday night, 24 hours after falling 3-2 to the same opponents in front of a sell-out home crowd.
It was a bitter pill for the Steelers to take, particularly as they had out-shot the visitors by 43-25 on the night, frustrated in large part by a goaltender in electric form in the shape of Patrick Killeen.
Phillips admits the Steelers got away from the gameplan in front of their own fans on Saturday, particularly during the third period as time was running out to find at least an equalising goal.
But the 36-year-old winger – now in his 11th season with the Steelers – believes evidence of the performances to come was seen in the corresponding period in Buckinghamshire when the Steelers ran in four goals.
“What you find happens in front of a big crowd sometimes is that everybody wants to be the guy that scores that crucial goal, or the game-winning goal,” said Phillips. “And sometimes people end up just trying too hard, instead of sticking to the process and the gameplan and that is what happened on Saturday.
On Sunday, we saw the team that we are and the kind of team that we need to be – particularly in that final period. It took a little bit of time but we found our feet and finally found our identity.Sheffield Steelers’ Jonathan Phillips
“But on Sunday at Milton Keynes, we saw the team that we are and the kind of team that we need to be – particularly in that final period. It took a little bit of time but we found our feet and finally found our identity.
“We can’t afford a repeat of what happened on Saturday when we play Fife. At home we need to be getting those wins, especially this early in the season as we can’t afford to be losing those kind of games.”
One player missing from the Steelers line-up against Fife will be Robert Dowd, carried off the ice on Saturday night, the 30-year-old missed the trip to Milton Keynes and was having further scans on an upper-body injury on Tuesday afternoon.