Whatever results come Sheffield Steelers’ way, this weekend, you won’t find coach Doug Christiansen pointing any fingers at the travel arrangements.
The team fly to Belfast tomorrow to face the league leading Giants at 7pm. At the crack of dawn on Sunday, they return to take on Coventry Blaze at 5.15pm. That means little rest-time for the team, who expect to be without Dustin Kohn and Rob Dowd again (concussions.)
Christiansen insists it will not be a factor in results. The former Giants’ coach said: “It’s absolutely no issue. Having experienced it for three years in Belfast, you cannot let that be an excuse, it has to be a challenge you overcome.”
Christiansen expects a tight game tomorrow. Steelers have lost twice by 4-2 to them but have beaten them once 2-1 already. “This is two really good teams who are outstanding in the neutral zone” he said. “Having gone to see Belfast in Nottingham, they are really good in the neutral zone, they limit opportunities off the rush, they have an outstanding D corps just as we do” he said on video at thestar.co.uk
“We are two teams that are pretty stingy defensively, both of us lead the league in shots-against. I am expecting a low scoring affair, hopefully our big guns can come up with a big goal or maybe even Hewy (Jason Hewitt) or Jono (Jonathan Phillips) can jump in. We have to be patient we cannot just throw pucks away, if we have to dump the puck, we must make good dumps and get in there with speed.
“When we played them in Belfast the first time they gave us nothing - they jumped up, took away our wings, their defencemen supported one another. When we played them at home the second time we did a better job coming through the neutral zone with speed finding lanes and angles. If we can create some chances off the rush that will be a big step for us.”