Nottingham Panthers will provide true test for Sheffield Steelers

More of this needed: Darrell Hay scores against Dundee. Pic by Dean Woolley
More of this needed: Darrell Hay scores against Dundee. Pic by Dean Woolley
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Steelers may be three points behind the league leaders with two games in hand - and enjoying a four-game winning streak - but nobody at the club is talking up their chances of lifting the title.

The league’s form team beat the division’s bottom two clubs last weekend but know they are in for a more testing challenge against Nottingham Panthers on Saturday. That is the team that beat them 4-0, 3-2, and 4-1 over the festive period.

The two big home defeats in that sequence hurt the most and coach Gerad Adams knows that only a win can sustain confidence that the team has indeed turned a corner.

“First and foremost we owe Nottingham a performance. I don’t think we have performed to our best in any game against them this season and that isn’t good enough against our main rivals” admitted Adams.

“We have to play hard and have to play on the attack. We need to decide as a group if we want to be contenders for this title. If it’s a yes we do then we have to play better against them than we have. It’s as simple as that.”

Steelers lost a two goal lead at Edinburgh on Sunday but had the resolve to find a way to win. “ A four point weekend was the most important thing” said the coach. “I never thought we were going to lose the game in Edinburgh even after they bought it back to 2-2. We played a great first period and a pretty decent second, we switched off a little in the final period and they punished us but we came back strong. It was a game we weren’t going to drop points in and I was confident we would win it in over time.”

Adams added: “Guys had to dig deep at times – we played with two centres and three pairs of wingers when we lost Colton Fretter, (facial injury) they battled and got the job done.”