We meet again: Steelers strive to end barren run against leaders Cardiff

BUOYANT: Sheffield Steelers' captain, Jonathan Phillips. Picture: Dean Woolley.
BUOYANT: Sheffield Steelers' captain, Jonathan Phillips. Picture: Dean Woolley.
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HIS team’s record against Elite League leaders Cardiff Devils may not look too impressive so far this season, but Sheffield Steelers’ captain Jonathan Phillips is confident that will change soon.

Four league meetings between the top two this season have so far brought just the one point for the defending regular season champions, that coming in last week’s dramatic shoot-out defeat in South Wales last Sunday.

But while such dominance has helped Cardiff to establish a 10-point lead at this early point in the season – the Steelers do have four games in hand on them – Phillips is not too concerned.

There are four meetings remaining between the two, the first one arriving with tonight’s return to Cardiff for the Steelers, who head there on a winning note after their 4-2 triumph over Dundee Stars on Wednesday.

“If the games we’ve already played against Cardiff had seen them dominate us every time, where we offered not very much at all, then I’d be worried,” said Phillips.

“In Sheffield earlier this season they beat us 5-2 and they deserved to, they were better than us, they out-worked us, out-muscled us and created more.

“But in the last three games against them, we’ve either thrown them away or things just haven’t gone our way.

“They are not unbeatable a and we’re very confident going back down there this weekend. As a group we know that we’ve done enough in those last three games to have taken something from them all.”

Despite the points gap at the top of the table Phillips insists it remains of little concern to the Steelers’ players, for who the win over Dundee at Ice Sheffield delivered a timely, swift confidence boost following their setbacks on the road last weekend in Cardiff and Belfast the night before.

“As a team we’re experienced enough not to get carried away whether it’s going really well for us, or whether things are not so good,” he added.

“But it was good to win against Dundee. If we’d have lost that one on Wednesday it would have been a lot different for us heading back down to Cardiff.

“But it wasn’t just the fact we got back to winning, I felt we put in a good performance again, at both ends of the ice and that gives us confidence.”