Sheffield Steelers v Fife Flyers: Captain Phillips wary of threat posed by Scottish rivals
Having won last week’s first leg in Kirkcaldy 4-2, the Steelers head into the tie at Ice Sheffield as firm favourites to reach the semi-finals and continue their bid for a first-ever triumph in the competition during the Elite League era.
Fife arrive in South Yorkshire having ended a four-game losing streak in a 7-6 win over Manchester Storm after a shoot-out on Sunday night, but - following last week’s first leg - have now come off second-best to Steelers on three separate occasions this season.
As they look to bounce back from Sunday night’s heavy 7-3 loss in the league at Cardiff Devils, Phillips insists the hosts need to ignore their two-goal advantage over Fife and “start from scratch.”
“We’ll be confident going in, but what happened in Fife last week doesn’t really matter,” said Phillips.
“There’s a danger sometimes that you can go into games like these with a lead from the first leg thinking that the job is done.
“But – and especially against a good, fast-skating team like Fife who can hurt you – we all need to be at our best and ready for whatever they throw at us.”
If the Steelers need any reminding as to the danger posed by Fife - now in their fifth season in the Elite League since replacing Newcastle Vipers in 2011 – they only need to revisit last season’s play-off quarter-finals when the Scottish club pushed them all the way before the four-time league champions prevailed 6-5 on aggregate.
“Ever since they came into the league, Fife have been a tough team to play against, particularly up at their place which they use to their advantage well,” added Phillips.
“You can never take them lightly, they gave us a real hard time in the quarter-finals of the play-offs last year when it came down to the wire and you have to respect the job Todd has done up there.
“There’s no pressure on them – they are the underdogs – the pressure is all on us. We’ve got that lead from the first leg and, because of that, most people probably expect us to win.
“We just need to ignore what happened up there and start from scratch.”