Tom Barrasso back where he started for Sheffield Steelers – with a date with Fife Flyers at the Arena

It seems like more than a season ago, yet it was only October 17.

By Bob Westerdale
Friday, 8th March 2019, 7:56 am
Updated Friday, 8th March 2019, 7:58 am
Steelers v Fife - a feisty match up
Steelers v Fife - a feisty match up

The last time Fife Flyers played at Sheffield, a certain Tom Barrasso was making his home debut on the Steelers' bench.

It didn't go well for the new coach, with Sheffield losing 3-1, their fifth straight defeat locking them in joint bottom position. That was followed by a 7-1 crash at Cardiff Devils.

And it seems to have been a long season, since.

Fife are back at the House of Steel on Saturday and captain Jonathan Phillips knows his side must have plenty of respect for their play off rivals.

"We haven't seen them for a while, here" acknowledged the Steelers' skipper.

"They are a very good team, they have a lot of depth, offensively. They are very good, transitional-wise, and they are a team that you give them chances and they are going to punish you.

Steelers v Fife - a feisty match up

"We have slipped up twice against them before and they are in a dogfight with us now, trying to make the play offs and cement a good spot."

Steelers host Fife - who lost at home 4-2 to Cardiff on Thursday - and then play the return fixture in Scotland on Sunday.

"They are two very good games where we need to stay focused just like we did against Belfast (last Saturday's 4-1 win)" said the captain.

Phillips said Sheffield and Fife teams shared some similar characteristics.

But he added: "We try to work on defensively-first and create our offence from the defensive zone, the way Tom likes us to play.

"They rely on their skill more; ours is a more all-round kind of game."

Steelers have six league games left and Phillips is desperate to play in the end of season tournament.

"Whether you are battling for a trophy or you are battling like us to make the play offs, you have got to embrace the competition. As a professional sports man you have got to love that."

Phillips, who is 37 in July, said he hoped to be back with Steelers next season.

"I don't feel like I am slowing down, I still love the game and still love coming to the rink, every single day. I definitely want to play for a few more years" he said.