With five games remaining, Steelers remain in control of their own destiny, knowing a win over Cardiff Devils tonight will take them above current leaders Braehead Clan and top of the overall standings for the first time since January 2.
The biggest hurdle to lifting a first top-flight title since the one won under Ben Simon four years ago is likely to be tonight’s opponents, who they have to face three times in the next 11 days.
Given the fact Cardiff were deserved 2-1 winners when the two met in Sunday’s Challenge Cup Final at the Motorpoint Arena, it is going to be a far from straightforward run-in for Gerad Adams’s team, particularly when you factor in their other two games.
First up will be Coventry Blaze at the Motorpoint on Saturday night - ahead of a trip to Cardiff 24 hours later - with Chuck Weber’s players proving to be the league’s form team going into the post-season, unbeaten in six league games and boasting only one defeat in 11.
And with a final weekend trip to Nottingham Panthers to also consider, it does seem as if the Steelers have the toughest run-in of the top three - on paper at least.
Having been a regular for Steelers since 2005, British forward Hewitt - surprisingly omitted from today’s GB squad announced for next month’s World Championships in Eindhoven – felt Sunday’s final defeat more than most, but believes the team is capable of bouncing back and lifting the most prized trophy in top-flight UK ice hockey.
“We’ve got to pick ourselves up pretty quickly, one trophy has gone and we don’t want another one to be gone come Wednesday,” said 31-year-old Hewitt.
“It was a tough night, a horrible night really. It would have been nice to get that win in the final on our home ice really, but we didn’t come out good enough really.
“Our form has been good of late, the stuff that we went through to get to this point was pretty crazy to be fair and our league form has been good – we were hoping to carry that into the final on Sunday, but it just didn’t happen.”
With no Tomas Petruska for tonight’s game - carried off injured during the first period on Sunday - Steelers will be without one of their most influential players from recent weeks. Adams tried Jeff Legue and captain Jonathan Phillips on Petruska’s line with Mathieu Roy and Mike Forney after Petruska’s exit and it remains to be seen how he works his lines tonight as a result of the Slovakian’s enforced absence.
Regardless, Hewitt is simply focused on Steelers getting the job done tonight before moving on to a tough weekend.
He added: “To win this league you have to beat the best teams like Cardiff and we’ll take it upon ourselves that we have to beat them three times and that is the challenge ahead of us. We’re still in a great position.”
They’ve got previous .... Steelers v Cardiff in 2014-15:
Sep 7 (Cup): Cardiff 3 Steelers 2
Sep 27 (Cup): Steelers 3 Cardiff 2
Oct 18: Steelers 5 Cardiff 3
Oct 19: Cardiff 5 Steelers 2
Dec 12: Steelers 4 Cardiff 1
Jan 25: Cardiff 0 Steelers 6
Feb 8: Cardiff 4 Steelers 0
Mar 8 (Cup Final): Steelers 1 Cardiff 2
ELITE LEAGUE RUN-IN
1. Braehead Clan
P:48 Reg Wins:30 Pts:67
Sat Mar 14: Edinburgh (H)
Sun Mar 15: Edinburgh (A)
Sat Mar 21: Hull (H)
Sun Mar 22: Fife (A)
2. Sheffield Steelers
P: 47 RW:27 Pts:66
Wed Mar 11: Cardiff (H)
Sat Mar 14: Coventry (H)
Sun Mar 15: Cardiff (A)
Fri Mar 20: Nottingham (A)
Sat Mar 21: Cardiff (H)
3. Cardiff Devils
P:46 RW:25 Pts:64
Wed Mar 11: Sheffield (A)
Sat Mar 14: Hull (A)
Sun Mar 15: Sheffield (H)
Wed Mar 18: Edinburgh (H)
Sat Mar 21: Sheffield (A)
Sun Mar 22: Nottingham (H)