DEFENCEMAN Davey Phillips says only the best will do for Sheffield Steelers if they are to enjoy any kind of success in the Elite League play-offs.
The Steelers confirmed their participation in post-season play when results elsewhere combined with their own 5-1 triumph at home to bottom club Milton Keynes Lightning on Saturday night.
There now remains just one top-eight spot up for grabs in the standings, with Coventry Blaze, Manchester Storm and Dundee Stars in a three-way battle.
GB international Phillips, now in his third season at Sheffield Arena, said there was apprehension at one point during the team’s troubled campaign that play-off qualification would drag into the final weekend of the regular season.
But, while all eight play-off seedings are still to be determined in what is a busy last week of action, the Steelers can at least begin planning beyond their own final game of the season at Milton Keynes on Sunday.
“I don’t think we’ve given a great deal of time to thinking about who we might get in the play-offs, we’ve just been concentrating on getting into them,” said Phillips.
It’s not been a great year, if I’m honest. But I think in the last couple of weeks we’ve knuckled down and had some good results against some good teamsSheffield Steelers, Davey Phillips.
“As this season has shown once again everyone can beat everybody else on any given night and we know we can because we’ve proved that we can beat the likes of Cardiff and Belfast.
“Hopefully we can get drawn against a team who we’ve had a decent record against during the regular season than maybe some of the others.”
Phillips, 31, admitted it had been a disappointing season by Steelers’ usual standards, but said there had been enough flashes of quality to show what the team are capable of achieving in the play-offs.
“It’s not been a great year, if I’m honest,” added Phillips who once the play-offs are over has the World Championships to look forward to in Slovakia when GB will be competing against the likes of Canada, Finland and the USA.
“But I think in the last couple of weeks we’ve knuckled down and had some good results against some good teams and that has pushed us into the play-offs a bit earlier than we thought – we felt that it might go down to the wire next weekend.
“We have got a decent team and, like the coach has said a number of times, when we play consistently and when we’re skating at our best we can beat most teams. So when those crunch games do come in the play-offs we know we have to bring our ‘A’ game, our best game. If we can do that I fancy our chances.”