SHEFFIELD STEELERS' head coach Paul Thompson believes his players have what it takes to heap more play-off final misery on rivals Cardiff Devils for a second year running.
A John Armstrong overtime winner saw the Steelers reach their second successive Elite League play-off final in a 5-4 come-from-behind win over Nottingham Panthers in Saturday's semi-final.
After Cardiff had earlier beaten Fife Flyers 4-0 at the National Ice Centre, it means Sunday's showdown will be a repeat of last year's final which saw the Steelers prevail in an epic encounter which was settled by a Levi Nelson strike for a 6-5 triumph in the second period of overtime.
For the sake of most peoples hearts and minds, it can only be hoped this year's final doesn't go that far again, but Thompson - despite losing out to the Devils in the race for the league title for the second season running - believes his players can retain their post-season title.
"Cardiff are a great team," said Thompson. "They've proved that over the league season - they are so deep. But we've got to bring it. I've got to make a couple of decisions on a couple of players. And, yes, Cardiff are a great team but, when we're at full strength, so are we.
"And we've been the best two teams over the last four years, especially in my time here - without a doubt and we're back in a final again."
Thompson will be hoping his star players can come to the fore again, as they did against Nottingham on Saturday, when the Steelers twice came from two goals behind to level before going on to win through Armstrong's wonder strike in the 64th minute.
Not surprisingly, Thompson - who could change his line-up again having left out Swedish forward Andreas Jamtin and Finnish defenceman Miika Franssila against the Panthers - was particularly pleased with his match-winner, who only returned to action two weeks ago having spent three months out through injury.
"The big guns got us the big goals today. And you realise how much we have missed John Armstrong on days like today - he's been unbelievable in this play-offs.
"He's missed half the season with injury and you get criticised for your team and that but when you don't have your best players available against the best teams it can be tough at times - but our best players showed against Nottingham why they are our best players.
"John's just on fire - and we didn't think we were going to get him back - that was how close it was going to be with him. I'm chuffed to bits with him - he's worked extremely hard to stay in shape and he's been incredible for us."