PAUL THOMPSON is hoping his Sheffield Steelers team can keep up to speed when they take on Swedish opposition for the second week running.
Newly-promoted to the top-tier SHL, Timra IK follow in the footsteps of fellow Swedish side Leksands who took on the South Yorkshire club last weekend.
While the Steelers emerged 3-2 winners in the first meeting between the two sides at Ice Sheffield, it was a different story 24 hours later when the visitors ran out comfortable 7-0 winners.
The Steelers are another week along in their preparations ahead of their season opener in the Challenge Cup against Nottingham Panthers on September 1, but they can expect another tough 120 minutes.
Centre Chris Lawrence has now had his visa sorted and is expected to arrive in Sheffield this weekend and could be thrown straight in, while Thompson has to play a waiting game over the fitness of Rob Dowd, who is recovering from an injury sustained against Leksands.
“It’s been another good week of practice for us,” said Thompson. “Hopefully, we get a little more flow (to the game) this weekend, we’re another further week along in our pre-season and it has been another tough few days for the boys and Timra are another great opposition for us.
“They are good team, I know their goalie coach really well, Peter Hirsch who played for me in Coventry. They skate well and are a big set of boys. They got up to the SHL last year and they will have added to that roster so we know it’s going to be a tough game.”
The two games this weekend - again at Ice Sheffield - will be the last matches for Thompson’s team ahead of their trip to Nottingham next month, but Thompson believes it is ideal preparation for his players.
“It’s the speed more than anything,” added Thompson. “The new guys have commented on that, the back pressure and the speed and the depth of these clubs.
“It is great because it gets our level up and it means you’ve got to play at that level and at that speed level. Last weekend we had a good game on the Saturday (against Leksands) and Sunday was … whatever … but we’re excited about this weekend as we’re another week along, a little bit sharper.”