CAPTAIN Jonathan Phillips says he is currently experiencing one of the most frustrating spells in his long and distinguished Sheffield Steelers career - but he predicts brighter times ahead.
A 3-1 defeat to second-placed Fife Flyers on Wednesday night saw the Steelers chalk up their fifth straight loss in the Elite League, the latest disappointment in a season which has produced its fair share of negative headlines already.
A change of coach in Tom Barrasso replacing Paul Thompson has brought in new ideas and practices to Sheffield Arena and Phillips - now in his 13th season with the Steelers - is confident it won’t be long before the team’s fortunes take a positive turn.
READ/WATCH MORE - Speed key to Sheffield Steelers' future success, says coach Tom Barrasso
“It didn’t take us long to get Tom’s systems down and he has said that he is pleased with that,” said Phillips on the impact had by Barrasso since his arrival just 10 days ago.
“There are obviously little creases to be ironed out and we’re still learning things but, so far, so good.
“He wants us to use our speed more, he likes speed going through the ice and we’re just trying to do that as much as we can, support the puck a little more and make sure we’re working to our strengths.
“I think, especially in that first period (against Fife), you saw us doing that and we were very effective.”
Phillips leads his team down to South Wales tonight to face former club Cardiff Devils, whose domestic form is a total contrast to the Steelers, with Andrew Lord’s team having lost just once all season.
READ/WATCH MORE - Match report: Sheffield Steelers 1 Fife Flyers 3
For Steelers, ending their losing streak at Ice Arena Wales is a tall order, but not impossible and Phillips is confident his team’s fortunes will turn around very soon.
“It is a tough time right now,” added Phillips, whose team host Manchester Storm at Sheffield Arena on Sunday in a 4pm face-off. “But we’re working hard, we’re working smart and we’re putting the systems down to a tee. We’ve just got to keep plugging away.
“It is probably one of the most frustrating spells of my career here. I don’t remember going on a losing run or having the inconsistency like we have had this year. It’s sport, it happens and it is all about how you deal with it. We will come through the other side."