More pucks on net - that's what Sheffield Steelers must do now, says skipper

Jonathan Phillips and his Sheffield team mates return from international duty hoping to pick up where they left off in the EIHL domestic programme.
Jonathan Phillips after scoring GB's second goal against Romania, picture: Dean WoolleyJonathan Phillips after scoring GB's second goal against Romania, picture: Dean Woolley
Jonathan Phillips after scoring GB's second goal against Romania, picture: Dean Woolley

Steelers won their last two games (Nottingham Panthers away 4-3 and Coventry Blaze 4-1) ending a gloomy spell where they lost five out of six matches and slipped down the pecking order.

One of those defeats was a 3-2 reverse at Fife Flyers in the first leg of the Challenge Cup semi final.

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They hope to overturn that in the second leg on Wednesday at the Arena.

Steeler Davey Phillips celebrates scoringSteeler Davey Phillips celebrates scoring
Steeler Davey Phillips celebrates scoring

The sequence of poor results included two losses (one in penalty shots) at title rivals Belfast Giants, a journey which triggered some criticism of the players from club owner Tony Smith.

But Phillips believes that, in the second game of the two in Northern Ireland, a corner was turned.

"The big turning point was in Belfast even though we only picked up that one (post regulation) point," he said.

"We started slow on the Friday, in that first period.

Maltby's Liam Kirk enjoying life back in GB uniformMaltby's Liam Kirk enjoying life back in GB uniform
Maltby's Liam Kirk enjoying life back in GB uniform
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"On the whole I think we got our competitiveness back into the team and I think we were kind of missing that."

Asked why the side had lost its edge he said there had been a hectic schedule and: "We kind of hit a dip, we were probably winning some games there where we were riding momentum and winning and that dipped.

"Then you start playing the bigger teams and you drop down to a level that you are not too pleased with.

"But I think we got that back in Belfast, even though we only picked up that one point."

Steeler Sam JonesSteeler Sam Jones
Steeler Sam Jones
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Steelers eventually found their touch against Nottingham Panthers and Coventry Blaze, with back-to-back wins.

"At times we have been guilty of not just getting the puck through on net" said Phillips, suggesting Brandon McNally's hefty drive against Coventry in their last league game was evidence of how they should attack the goal.

"I think one thing we are trying to concentrate on is getting a few more pucks to the net and bodies around there...and good things happen."

There are nine weeks left of the EIHL season and Wednesday's meeting with Fife will be another important step.

Flyers are desperate to become the first Scottish team to reach the Challenge Cup Final, where host team Belfast Giants await.