Sheffield Steelers Justin Hodgman vows pride at stake as he targets Elite League play-off triumph

HAVING seen their Elite League championship hopes snuffed out on home ice, it would be understandable if Sheffield Steelers wanted time to lick their wounds.

Justin Hodgman (left) says Sheffield Steelers are good enough to win the play-offs. Picture: Dean Woolley.
Justin Hodgman (left) says Sheffield Steelers are good enough to win the play-offs. Picture: Dean Woolley.

But that is not an option as, like it or not, they still have to complete their regular season schedule.

It’s a schedule that, firstly, takes them to Scotland tonight for an encounter with Glasgow Clan. Just under 48 hours later, however, a more painful experience awaits.

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The Steelers were hoping to head over to Northern Ireland for their regular season closer on Friday hoping either that a win would clinch the title for them or, that they had already been crowned champions.

Justin Hodgman (left) in action against Fife Flyers earlier this season. Picture: Dean Woolley.

But it will be the Belfast Giants waiting for them in full party mode, having ended the Steelers’ title hopes by winning 2-1 after a shoot-out at the Utilita Arena.

That came after they secured a 3-1 win the previous night at the same venue, meaning the Steelers could no longer overhaul them.

But while Friday’s visit to the SSE Arena will be one the Steelers could well do without experiencing, it does present an opportunity to become party-poopers.

There is also the small matter of the play-offs which kick in the following weekend with centre Justin Hodgman insisting the Steelers will be giving their all – both before and after the regular season has ended.

STINGING: Belfast Giants' league championship win in Sheffield on Sunday night hurt the Sheffield Steelers. Picture: Dean Woolley.

“We’re still professionals, we’ve still got two games to play and whenever you put on that jersey you play with pride,” he told BBC Sheffield. “That is what everyone should expect and can expect.

“This one stings. We had a team to win a championship, so I’m not sure how I’m going to process this one.

“Our focus will be that whoever we get, in the first round, the semis or the final if we get there it would be a shame for this group to not walk away with a trophy – and it’s a trophy that we’ll be doing everything we can to win.”