Steelers’ boss Paul Thompson admits he is “wary” of Braehead Clan - Saturday’s visitors to iceSheffield - despite a form dip being suffered by the Scots.
Clan have lost their last four League games, while Thompson’s men have done the opposite. Ryan Finnerty’s troops suffered defeats last weekend to Manchester Storm and Edinburgh Capitals, both below them in the standings. And they have been gunned down by Steelers twice this season.
But Thompson, whose side is five points behind leaders Cardiff Devils with a game in hand (the pair meet on Sunday) says of Braehead: “We are wary of them. They have a lot of talent. They have got a couple of injuries right now, but you can’t switch off; they have a high-end skill level, a very good power play. It’s the number one power play, as good as there is in the league. They really do throw the puck around” said the coach.
“We can’t look at their inconsistencies, we have to look at us and how we are going to execute. Whether we are playing them or Cardiff or Belfast we will give the same attention to detail .”
Steelers are playing it softly-softly with Cole Shudra, whom The Star understands has a small fracture in a bone in his back.
Thompson said: “It has been a very frustrating time for him - for us all, he’s a young kid and we want him back on the ice but it is going the right way.
“He has been working out intensively with Danny (Mawer; Conditioning Coach) he’ll skate with the team again and towards the end of the week we’ll start involving him more in the battle side of drills.”
He added: “We have got to get it right - he’s a young lad.”
Shudra, son of Steelers legend Ron, is 18 with a big career ahead of him - however he has only played nine times for the Elite League champions this year and is chomping at the bit to get back on the ice.
*Andreas Valdix, two goal hero and man of the match in the win at Coventry Blaze on Sunday, should be looking forward to playing Clan - he scored in both victories against them in October.