Sheffield Steeldogs urged to get back to basics against Peterborough Phantoms by Jonathan Phillips in order to bounce back from derby dismay
The Knights eased to a 5-0 win at Elland Road Ice Arena – thanks in large part to a hat-trick from former Steeldogs’ forward Kieran Brown – to put the hosts back at the top of the NIHL National standings, albeit level on points with Milton Keynes Lightning and Hull Seahawks.
Today’s visit from Peterborough Phantoms (face-off 7.30pm), gives Jason Hewitt’s team the chance to get back in the win column at the first time of asking as they attempt to put together some kind of sustained winning run, something which has eluded them so far this season.
"We had a good, hard practice on Tuesday, kind of stripped things back and did a lot of one-on-ones, battle drills,” said Steeldogs’ winger Phillips. “When you play like we did in Leeds, that’s the kind of right mentality you have to take – get back to the basics of working hard. We need a performance, especially being at home. We need to win our home games, they are going to be crucial throughout the season.
"If we’re honest with ourselves, we didn’t play great at Leeds. I’m not taking anything away from them at all – I think they played a good game, shut us down well. But in games like that you’ve got to know when to take it back to the basics and we made hard work of that.
"There were a couple of turnovers which created 2-on-1s and you know that if you give people like Kieran Brown a 2-on-1, he is going to score. At any level, this really is a game of limiting mistakes and that’s probably where we came up short last Sunday.”
A win would take the Steeldogs above the Phantoms in the standings and, given it is their only game of the weekend, extra emphasis will be on Saturday’s performance. Phillips believes the players around him are good enough to beat any other team in the division.
"I don’t think we’ve been at full strength yet and in this league, if you’re missing a player from your top one or two lines it really shows because teams just don’t have the depth to fill those gaps left by impact players,” added Phillips.
“With Hewy (player-coach Jason Hewitt) being out and Spurrsy (forward, James Spurr) now being out for the last couple of weeks, too, it really affects things. There are some things that we need to tighten up on as a team but that will obviously come. When we’re on, I know we can be a very good, effective team.”
The Steeldogs have an early opportunity to gain derby revenge on the Knights when the two teams meet again at Ice Sheffield on Tuesday night (face-off 7.30pm).