Sheffield Steelers are in Cup quarter final action tonight - but no one is taking their eye off the forthcoming league programme...with Belfast Giants the principle target.
This evening’s home leg is an important one and the team’s immediate focus. But once that is over, it will switch to leaders Belfast, whom they host on Saturday and then face in back-to-back games on February 1 and 2.
Giants have a 15-point lead over Steelers having played two games more. It will take a stumble of Devon Loch proportions for Doug Christiansen’s old team to be denied the title. But Steeler Nate DiCasmirro wants his team to be one of the architects of their decline.
“We are clawing our way back in now and to make some serious ground we have got to take those games against Belfast. It will be a big challenge for us. We are on a run right now, better late than never. We are playing well and taking care of business in our end. Hopefully we can get some help from other teams and see what happens.”
Tonight, though, they must beat Dundee at the Arena, a game DiCasmirro accepts is another big task. “They have guys that can score, they are one of the better teams in the league” he said on video at thestar.co.uk. “Their first two lines can put the puck in the net, they have some mobile defencemen and a really good goalie.”
Steelers may keep Max Lacroix on the sidelines again tonight. Dundee are not known as a physical side, and some observers wondered whether Lacroix may come in and heavyweight Tim Spencer may get rested. But Christiansen appears not to favour that option.
He said: “Spencer scored a Power Play goal against Coventry (last Saturday,) it is hard to take that away from him. You look at his offensive production over the course of the year and the last two weeks, he has done a really good job for us. He has chipped in with assists and goals. It is a fair question to ask but more importantly right now we have 11 healthy guys and one (Lacroix) who is about 80 per cent fit.”