DEFENCEMAN Mark Thomas says Sheffield Steelers cannot afford to dwell on recent setbacks as they prepare to return to Elite League action this weekend.
The Steelers host Dundee Stars in South Yorkshire on Saturday night (7pm) before heading to the Skydome Arena to face an in-form Coventry Blaze on Sunday.
It follows a run of three games in the Challenge Cup which saw them defeated twice by arch-rivals Nottingham Panthers before keeping their bid to clinch the second qualification spot in Group B intact with a hard-fought, 5-3 win at home to rivals Cardiff Devils on Sunday.
“This is a season of 60-plus games so there’s no way we can afford to dwell on the two defeats to the Panthers,” said Thomas. “Yes, they hurt more than defeats to other teams but we’ve got to make sure we pick ourselves up.
“The Challenge Cup may not be the most sought-after bit of silverware but it’s something that’s eluded us for a long time and we want to do well in it.”
Dundee arrive in Sheffield after a difficult start to their second season in the top-flight. A 6-0 defeat to Nottingham on Wednesday night extended their losing streak to four games. Steelers have beaten Dan Ceman’s team twice already this season - both home and away - but Thomas is expecting a tough encounter as the Stars look to haul themselves back into the play-off places.
“They’ve definitely upgraded,” added Thomas. “It might just be taking time for the team to gell, but I can definitely see them making the play-offs again.”
Steelers’ player-coach Ryan Finnerty is hoping to unveil a new face in his line-up for the weekend, after being given the green light to bring in a replacement for the unfortunate Mike Ramsay, who could be out for up to two months after fracturing two of his fingers during last week’s game against Cardiff.
“Ownership have given me the green light to bring someone else in,” said Finnerty on Thursday evening. “I’m grateful for that and I’m trying to find a guy who in the first instance only will only be offered 4-6 weeks work.”
Tickets for Steelers v Dundee Stars at the Motorpoint Arena on Saturday (7.30pm) can be obtained via Arena Box Office: Tel 0114 256 5656 or go online HERE.