SHEFFIELD Steeldogs’ player-coach Andre Payette believes his struggling team have turned a corner as they look to secure an end-of-season play-off place.
This weekend could go a long way towards determining if the ninth-placed Sheffield club are successful in their English Premier League hopes.
Currently sitting ninth in the table – one spot outside the play-off places – Payette’s team take on eighth-placed Peterborough Phantoms in a double header, the first leg being at Ice Sheffield tonight (7.30pm).
Four points adrift of their Midlands rivals, two wins would completely change the whole play-off picture and take the Steeldogs above their rivals.
They will go into the weekend full of confidence having won three of their last four games, twice defeating second-placed Basingstoke, while also getting the better of fierce rivals Manchester Phoenix, currently sitting third.
“All weekends are big for us from now on, but this one is huge,” said Payette. “We could find ourselves in a play-off spot come Sunday night.
“We’ve shown that we can beat the top teams in this league recently. It was frustrating to lose to Swindon last week because I felt we outplayed them.
“But I sense that we have turned a corner and are playing like I want this team to play now.
“Confidence is a massive thing in hockey and I believe we’re getting some of that back.”
Payette will hope that ‘confidence’ will be boosted even further after bringing in Czech goaltender Dalibor Sedla.
The 25-year-old has represented his country at Under-18 and Under-20 level and replaces James Flavell who left the club this week.