Sheffield Steelers v Cardiff Devils - forged from history

Steelers host Devils
Steelers host Devils
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Cardiff Devils come to Sheffield on Sunday sitting in first place in the Elite League standings and looking for their first EIHL championship – you shouldn't need another other than that for making sure you are at the game at the Sheffield Arena, but in case you do, here are five of them!

1: For years Cardiff Devils were the team that won at home because they had this small, weird rink that suited them and seemingly gave them an advantage.

Don't worry though, they would never win anything because they wouldn't win enough on the road, on the big ice, and Scottish teams would always kill them, they always lost too many games in Scotland.

Now things have changed and Andrew Lord, their player coach has built a team for all seasons – this Devils side is the real deal, proper challengers.

On Sunday you could be seeing the eventual league champions – Steelers or Devils.

2: Six years ago when Stevie Lyle was the Devils goalie David Simms wrote that you could never win the league title with a British goalie.

But then the new generation of goalies came along led by Stephen Murphy who was the first to show that times they were a changing – he won with the Giants and now his GB understudy Sheffield born Ben Bowns is trying to do the same with the Devils.

Sunday will be a battle of goaltending. Bowns against Steelers number one Tyler Plante. Two big bodies, two outstanding goalies that on their day can simply stone you. All eyes will be between the pipes at the Arena come 5pm on Sunday.

3: Battles to look forward to: Mathieu Roy v Joey Martin – goals are key and right now the Steelers are going back time after time to Mathieu Roy to lead the charge. Martin is the best of the Devils forwards, he scored a hat trick in a recent league game in Cardiff. Whilst secondary scoring is pivotal Roy normally comes to the front on the big stage.

Nine goals in 15 games for Roy v eight in 16 for Martin – these two guys will lead the charge for their respective teams.

4: Steelers v Devils is a rivalry based on history – in 1995 just weeks before the Steelers first league title Sheffield travelled to the principality. Only a win in the hostile Cardiff Ice Arena would be sufficient. On that night Steelers legend Tim Cranston put on one of his finest performances, he was the catalyst for a Sheffield triumph. The Steelers won that night and ended up winning the league.

Months later in their first play off final the Devils handed the Steelers a 12-1 defeat at Wembley – two big nights and a rivalry born that has ebbed and flowed both ways in the two decades since. Steelers winning in Cardiff in 2012 in overtime, a Mark Thomas winner, the result that ensured that three weeks later the league title would head to Sheffield in the narrowest of margins, tied on points, tied on wins with the Steelers lifting the trophy on a count back of regulation victories.

Only last March Devils took the Challenge Cup 2-1 at the Sheffield Arena, a nail biting end to an edge of your seat game – weeks later Steelers edged out the Devils for the 2015 league title – again a point separated the two sides with Sheffield beating Cardiff in the Arena on the very last game of the year – this Steelers Devils rivalry takes you to the edge.

5. Steelers have had questions marks thrown at them in the last couple of weeks but not with their home form at the Arena – Steelers are yet to drop a point in the big building and they will want that form to continue on Sunday.