If Sheffield Steelers are to win a trophy this season, they must set the tone this coming Saturday night.
That’s the feeling surrounding their League visit to Nottingham Panthers which won’t, in all honesty, have much of a bearing on the title race - that trophy is bound for Belfast Giants.
But with Challenge Cup semi-final dates in the diary against Panthers, Sheffield need to make a statement of intent against their fiercest rivals.
In addition, whilst Steelers won’t finish in top spot, they desperately want to finish second in the League and that could mean they face Panthers in the Play-Off quarter finals.
Whilst Sheffield lost twice in regulation in Belfast at the weekend, they at least held on to second place where they are tied on points with Dundee Stars.
However, the gap to Belfast is 19 points hence the feeling around the Belfast camp that they are poised to become champions.
Struggling Nottingham lost 3-1 at Coventry Blaze, who are the visitors to Sheffield Arena on Sunday (5pm.)
A positive for Doug Christiansen was the debut weekend of Chris Blight, who played well over the two hours and was unfortunate to have a goal disallowed.
The winger was recruited on Saturday morning from Cardiff Devils,
Meanwhile Belfast, after their 4-3 and 4-2 win double victory over the Steelers, are getting ready to start celebrating the title and one of their scorers, Adam Keefe, tweeted: “This is our year.”
Paul Adey’s side need just seven wins in their remaining 14 games to be crowned Elite League champions.
Sheffield Steeldogs had a mixed weekend in the English Premier League.
They beat their major rivals Manchester Phoenix 4-2, but ran out of steam and went down 3-4 to Basingstoke Bison.
Dogs have dropped a place to seventh in the table.