Sheffield Steelers must rein back league leading Cardiff Devils

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Paul Thompson makes no bones about Friday’s collision with Elite League leaders Cardiff Devils (7.30pm.)

“It is absolutely huge - a four points game” says the Steelers coach.

The Welsh currently lead the Elite League, with a five points advantage over second-placed Sheffield.

But last weekend saw Steelers creep four points closer to Devils, who lost in the League and then played a Challenge Cup game.

Steelers will have to overcome the psychological barrier of having been beaten by Cardiff on Sheffield ice twice already this year.

In September they lost 5-3 and in October it was worse...5-2.

Davey Phillips fighting a Nottingham Panthers rival

Davey Phillips fighting a Nottingham Panthers rival

As early as it is in the season, Steelers cannot afford to lose three straight games on home ice to such quality rivals.

“I don’t think in the two games that we have played Cardiff here - and that’s credit to them - we have been near our best” said the coach.

“If you give them chances, and we did in both of the games, they will take advantage of it. Good teams break you down. We were at our best in Cardiff...and the far better team” he added, referring to a 5-4 win.

Thompson insisted his side would do better at the House of Steel this time.

The coach will have a team strengthened by the arrival of Yared Hagos, who has won three out of four games since arriving.

“You don’t play 10 years in the SHL and three years in the DEL and a two years in the AHL if you are not very good at what you do.

“He doesn’t give the puck away. Defensively he is very strong. I am very pleased, he has worked extremely hard, a great pro.”

Meanwhile, The Challenge Cup quarter final ties have been confirmed.

The fixtures are Edinburgh Capitals v Sheffield Steelers, (now set as Wednesday 23 and 26 November, 7pm) Manchester Storm v Belfast Giants, Cardiff Devils v Dundee Stars, Braehead Clan v Nottingham Panthers.

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