Phillips confident of winning battle of season

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JONATHAN PHILLIPS believes Sheffield Steelers have found a way to win without injured veteran Ashley Tait.

The GB forward hasn’t played since February 5 when he injured ankle ligaments, ironically, against tonight’s opponents Belfast Giants.

Steelers need to win there tonight and tomorrow to seize control of who will win the league title.

Unquestionably that task is harder without Tait and his side have lost four times since he became unavailable for selection.

Skipper Phillips says: “The loss of Ash is huge. There is definitely no replacing Ashley Tait but we need to find a way to compensate for his goals and in the last couple of games we have done that. We need each person to find a bit more creativity and add their little piece.

“Our line (Phillips-Luke Fulghum-Jason Hewitt has been creating and supporting each other and we’ve had our rewards with a few goals.

“We are not a fancy line, we just support each other, get pucks to the net and it’s been working for us.”

Giants, arguably, are the more skilled of the two, but Phillips thinks determination will go a long way this weekend in Northern Ireland.

“We are grittier than Belfast, but they work hard hard and are disciplined in their systems so we have to make sure we dictate the game and make them play our way. The first shift and the first period is massive, whoever has the start we need to go at them but also be smart. We need to play good defensively, take our chances and really bear down” said the Welshman.

“We are all experienced; there are a lot of players in the room that have won championships before and knows what it takes. We have to be 100 per cent confident or there’s no point getting on the plane otherwise.

“It is going to be the battle of the year and that’s how we need to look at it.”