Better late than never for Sheffield Steelers

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Mark Thomas admits it took a while to get used to the new-look Sheffield Steelers.

The changes in personnel - both on the ice and on the bench - meant it took a while longer than the fans would like for the side to achieve a consistent rhythm.

Mark Thomas, left, gets stuck in for Sheffield Steelers

Mark Thomas, left, gets stuck in for Sheffield Steelers

But the side has won five out of its last six games, is in the semi final of their Challenge Cup and are second only to Elite League favourites Belfast Giant.

Thomas, speaking on video at thestar.co.uk after the win over Nottingham Panthers, last weekend, agreed the team was playing with more authority now than previously in the campaign.

“For each team in each year it depends on the gelling period and for whatever reason it took that little bit longer to master our systems and get to grips with everything” he said.

“There is always pressure in Sheffield to win whether the game means something or it doesn’t.

“Every game has two points at stake or a place in the next round of the Challenge Cup so there is always pressure.”

Tonight, Steelers hope to reduce Belfast’s lead at the top to 15 points, with one of their two games in hand.

They host Edinburgh Capitals at iceSheffield (7.30pm.)

Thomas said: “We know what type of hockey they play - a very European style.

“They sit back, when they get the puck they don’t like to give it up, they don’t dump the puck, so hopefully we can be physical against them.

“That has worked in previous games against them.”

Edinburgh are perennial strugglers in the Elite League and are four points adrift of Fife Flyers, at the bottom of the table.

Worse still, they have had to endure six straight defeats before tonight’s match.

Out of 37 attempts they have won on just six occasions in regulation time.

Max Lacroix, should he be selected, would doubtless love to repeat his feat against them back in September, before his injury: he scored a hat-trick in a 10-3 win.

Stefan Meyer missed out on both games last weekend (foot) and may be rested again.