Steelers boss Finnerty aiming for Panthers scalp

SHEFFIELD Steelers’ player-coach Ryan Finnerty says his team needs to channel their energy positively in order to break their duck for the season against arch-rivals Nottingham Panthers this weekend.

Third-placed Sheffield visit the Braehead Clan for the first time this season tonight, but all the talk concerns tomorrow’s encounter against Nottingham at the Motorpoint Arena (face-off 5pm).

Nottingham have beaten the Steelers three times already this season, twice in the Challenge Cup before a 1-0 victory in the league at the National Ice Centre last Saturday, after which Finnerty admitted his team’s indiscipline - most notably his own - was unacceptable.

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A crowd of around 7,000 is expected for tomorrow’s clash, with Finnerty keen for his players to give the club’s fans the chance to at last earn some overdue local bragging rights.

“We’re not a team that’s going to make excuses and blame the referee, we put ourselves in situations to get calls last week and it’s frustrating because there’s no intention to go out and earn penalties,” said Finnerty.

“It’s a heated game and stuff happens, but we’ve got to learn how to channel that in the right direction. If we do that we stand a good chance of being successful.”

Hull Stingrays will have a chance to hand out some swift revenge when they face bottom club Fife Flyers for the second time in six days tomorrow (SUN).

Sylvain Cloutier’s side went down 5-4 after a shoot-out in Fife on Tuesday night, handing the league newcomers their first win of the season.

Before that, the Stingrays head back to Scotland tonight for their first visit of the season to Edinburgh Capitals, who won 3-2 at Hull last month with Cloutier hoping his side can end a six-game winless streak.

“If we play well as a group we’ll be fine,” said Cloutier. “We’ve been outworked by both these teams in previous games against them and that can’t happen again.”

Sheffield Steeldogs are hoping for a bumper crowd in their home game against Milton Keynes Lightning tonight in the English Premier League (7.30pm). They follow that up with a trip to Bracknell Bees tomorrow.