SHEFFIELD Steeldogs are four games from the end of a season which hasn’t produced the level of success their ambitious coach and loyal fans had hoped for.
Dogs are next to bottom of the English Premier League having won 15 of 50 games in regulation time.
Yet they can still play a part in the eventual champions of their division.
On Saturday, Steeldogs take on table-topping Guildford Flames, who are competing with Basingstoke Bison for the title.
Steeldogs recognise that they “will seem the easiest target” for David Longstaff’s side but add they want to end the season on a high note.
Last weekend, though, they lost to bottom of the division side Telford Tigers, 3-1.
They were missing Andre Payette from both the ice and the bench whilst he served a match ban.
Steeldogs took an early lead through Greg Wood at 3:13 into the game, assisted by Lloyd Gibson and Craig Elliott.
Play was fairly even, however, with Lewis Bell and Wood sent to the penalty box within seconds of each other, Tigers took advantage of the 5-on-3 PP to equalise when Scott McKenzie scored.
Tigers then took the lead early in the second via Tim Burrows at 23:45.
Steeldogs had just the one Power Play opportunity in the third period to equalise but it was Telford who took advantage with a short-handed goal at 51:31 as Tomas Karpov punished the visitors. The Steeldogs could not pull anything back, and the game ended with a 3-1 win for Telford, which also ended any real hopes of the Steeldogs making it to the play-offs.
Steve Duncombe was awarded Steeldogs’ MOM and Netminder Declan Ryan for Telford.