Sheffield Steelers may have to toughen up mentally if they are to bring play off honours back to the Arena this year.
New coach Gerad Adams feels it is psychological vulnerability, rather than anything physical, that may have held the team back earlier in a campaign which has seen them lose out on the League and Challenge Cup titles.
If things aren’t going the right way, and they do not utilise their speed, the side can quickly start to deteriorate, he thinks.
Yet two wins out of two since Adams took over suggests a decent end to the campaign.
“Weakness is the mental approach, at times in the game, they get down too quickly,” says the Canadian.
“It is a group-thing, to be honest, it’s not necessarily the individual. They just go into a little bit of a lull, and once we stop skating that’s when we become average.
“But when you flip that around, when we decided to skate and decide that’s our puck, I don’t think many teams can keep up with us” added Adams.
“We dominated the game in Nottingham because we wanted to do it. If we make a group decision that we want to get that puck it will be ours for the majority of the game.”
Chris Blight, whom Adams had at Cardiff Devils, is now on top form for Sheffield.
Adams said: “He is a great hockey player, he has got a lot of offensive upside and his skating is tremendous. He makes players better around him with his speed and the way he can read the game, I have always been a big fan that’s why I brought him back to Cardiff. He is not necessarily the key player here, but he is a good support player, he
understands the role, he is a good professional.”
Generally, Adams says: “We have got to get better every game.
“I don’t think we are a position where we can take our foot off the gas. The biggest thing is keeping the players sharp mentally because physically they can do it.”
Next up for second-placed Steelers is a game at Dundee Stars, tomorrow (7.30pm.) Dundee are top of the Gardiner Conference.