Double-pursuing Steelers in action at the NIC

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STEELERS were today pursuing their fourth - and most important - win of the season at Nottingham Panthers’ NIC rink.

Today’s Play Off semi final (1pm face off) is at a stadium where Sheffield have largely dominated so far this season.

While they lost there in March, they won the earlier games by the healthy margins of 4-1, 5-3 and 3-1.

Another win today - followed by a Play Off Final victory over Belfast Giants or Cardiff Devils, would be a tremendous double-achievement for the league title winnes.

Neil Clark says: “All year we weren’t supposed to win because of the turmoil that had been going on (off the ice.)

“But as a team we came together and hopefully that will be the same this weekend.

“This is the most fun I have ever had playing hockey, you make a mistake and the guys forgive you becuasea you are working hard.

“But if have something wrong with your attitude then its checked immediately. Anyone of us would battle to the death for any one of us, it has been a great atmosphere.”

* Belfast Giants coach Doug Christiansen would not be surprised if all three games in the play-off finals weekend went down to penalty shots.

The Giants overcame Nottingham Panthers in the semi-final and Cardiff Devils in the final on penalty shots last season as they lifted the play-offs for the first time in the Elite League era.

Now Christiansen is anticipating more nail-biting moments with the Giants meeting the Devils and the Panthers taking on league champions and bitter rivals Sheffield Steelers in today’s semi-finals in Nottingham.

Christiansen said: “I can see all three going to penalty shots because all four teams are that evenly matched.

“Both semi-finals will be great games and two fantastic match-ups between the best four teams in the league this season.

“But hopefully we can make it easier for our fans because I am sure they don’t want to go through that again.”