STEELERS’ player coach Ryan Finnerty will have one single message for his Sheffield skaters ahead of Sunday’s powderkeg clash with Nottingham Panthers.
“If we don’t out work them - we will lose.”
Finnerty believes his rivals have upgraded on last season’s line-up and pose a substantial threat to Sheffield’s Challenge Cup quest.
“They are a good team and have good depth and they seem to play to a more workmanlike ethic. They finish their checks off and are going to be tough to beat.
“By recruiting well, they have improved in all areas and have certainly got strength from their defensive corps outwards.
“The truth is that if we don’t outwork them, we will lose.”
Finnerty has been one of several Steelers who have been struggling with injuries, but like defenceman Chad Huttel, will play this weekend.
The coach is contemplating resting Neil Clark from tomorrow’s trip to Dundee, but he hopes he will have recovered sufficiently from his ankle complaint to go straight back on to the top line alongside Jeff Legue and Mike Ramsay.
Ramsay, possibly, will be the player Panthers will want to key on the most, if they are to neutralise the home offence.
In all 10 games, so far, the forwards has scored 16 points (6+10) overtaking Clark as top scorer.
Finnerty will be looking for ‘secondary scoring’ from the other lines, too. And the emphasis will fall on, among others, winger Colt King, who has six points from 10 games.
“We’ve shifted him around the lines but he is finding his stride now,” said Finnerty.