Sheffield Steelers return to action after a two-week break, part of the Elite League’s supporting role to the Great Britain team’s bid to make the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
That dream is over for another four or so years after a final-day 4-1 defeat to Hungary in Nottingham, but the returning Jonathan Phillips, Davey Phillips Brendan Connolly and Ben O’Connor are still well-placed to enjoy success on the domestic front with the Steelers.
There is no such thing as an easy weekend in the EIHL anymore and this weekend is certainly not going to be oneJonathan Phillips
All four hooked up with their team-mates again on Wednesday in readiness for a weekend of action against two teams desperately trying to secure a playoff spot at the bottom end of the table.
Steelers resume action at the FlyDSA Arena tonight (7pm) against ninth-placed Dundee Stars before following the visitors up to Scotland in order to face-off against bottom club Fife Flyers tomorrow (5.30pm).
“There is no such thing as an easy weekend in the EIHL anymore and this weekend is certainly not going to be one,” said Steelers’ captain Jonathan Phillips. “Both Dundee and Fife are fighting for playoff spots and will be determined to turn us over.
“I know the other boys enjoyed their break last week. Some bodies will have certainly enjoyed the rest.”
The Steelers remain in the boxseat for a first regular season title since 2016. Going into the weekend they are five points ahead of Cardiff Devils in second, with Andrew Lord’s team having four games in hand and at home to Coventry Blaze today before heading to Guildford tomorrow.
Nottingham Panthers moved above Belfast Giants into third place after a 3-2 win over bottom club Fife Flyers and are six points off the Steelers with two games in hand.
Defending champions Belfast will hope to capitalise on the Panthers’ Saturday night off when they host Manchester Storm on Saturday before heading to the National Ice Centre 24 hours later for what is likely to prove a pivotal encounter with Tim Wallace’s improving side.