The regular season title – the UK top flight’s most coveted prize – has already been lifted by tonight’s visitors to the Motorpoint Arena (7.30pm), finally ending their 57-year wait.
The two previous seasons have seen the Panthers lift both the Challenge Cup and play-off trophies – an aim now firmly fixed in Steelers’ sights, according to captain Phillips.
“We’re still approaching the next few weeks with the aim of winning two trophies,” said Phillips. “The league is always the priority, everybody knows it is.
“But at the start of the season all of the top clubs start out by looking to win as many of the three trophies that they can.
“The games between ourselves and Nottingham have all been pretty close this season and they will be on a high after clinching the league last Friday.
“It’s up to us to spoil the party and make sure we take a good lead going into the second leg.”#
Steelers head into the first leg buoyed by a four-point weekend in the league with wins over Coventry Blaze and Cardiff Devils.
It was the 8-3 triumph in Coventry that generated more satisfaction in the Steelers’ camp, said Phillips, particularly after they enjoyed such a strong start to build a 5-0 lead which put the home side out of sight before the halfway point.
“Coventry always come out really strong in those first 10 minutes,” said Phillips. “But we came out like that ourselves and kind of gave them a taste of their own medicine.
“We had a bit of a comedown after it became clear we couldn’t win the league anymore, that’s only natural I think when you’ve been chasing something like that for so long.
“But we’ve come back well, particularly at the weekend, and we know we can beat this Nottingham side - we’ve proved that already this season.”
The second leg in Nottingham will not be played until after the first round of the play-offs, with Steelers heading to the National Ice Centre on Tuesday, April 2.