Steelers’ forward Max Lacroix believes his team needs to be more creative when it comes to fashioning chances against opposing teams.
The player, who scored against Dundee Stars last Sunday, was on the sidelines the previous night for the home defeat by Belfast Giants - and admired their imaginative distribution of the puck.
But assessing the quality of Northern Ireland’s runaway league leaders, he said: “What they have that we don’t is hard to say; they are not a better team than we are. We have good forwards, good d-men and goalies. They made a couple of good plays in the offensive zone finding their third man in slot; we haven’t done that in a while, it is so crowded defensively in the slot, and they found their guys.
“That’s where we maybe need to improve, finding guys better.”
Lacroix knows he has to prove himself all over again now he’s approaching full fitness. “I am not 100 per cent but I’m getting there,” he said. “Maybe I will never be 100 per cent like I was before, but good enough to play and battle hard, and that’s what we need right now.”
He added that players “always want to play every game; we want to get in and do our job. But I have to be realistic too, I know I am not 100 per cent. I know I am not going to take somebody’s spot when I don’t deserve it and not ready for it”.
He said coach Doug Christiansen’s selection choices had been fair - but it is clear the 26-year-old French Canadian wants to take on old rivals Nottingham Panthers on Saturday - the team against whom he broke his ankle back in September.
“Every game against them is a battle, it’s a war and it’s going to be another great game,” he said. “They are having a tough stretch over the last couple of weeks ...but it is always a good game, good crowd atmosphere in the building.”