Sheffield Steeldogs finished their league campaign with two meaningless games which didn't provide the best of warm-up for the playoffs, with a 5-2 loss at Guildford Flames and a 1-6 reverse at Hull Pirates.
Saturday's visit to Guildford started well with an Arnoldas Bosas goal giving them the lead briefly.
The Flames took control in the second period and ended up winning 5-2.
Backup net minder Brandon Stones started in Hull in a game that lived up to the rivalries feisty reputation. Hull instigated four fights in the first period but the Steeldogs overcame the onslaught to lead 3-2 after 20 minutes.
With more players lost to injury, the wheels came off in the middle session and the threadbare defence left Stones exposed as Hull scored five unanswered goals. The Pirates finished 10-6 winners.
Coach Greg Wood said: "It’s hard to get into games that don't mean anything. We just wanted to get through the games without any injuries and be refreshed as possible going into the play offs – and that didn’t work out too well! We have a couple of days recovery now before we are back in action on Wednesday in Peterborough”.
Steeldogs head in to their playoff group as outsiders but Wood knows what it will take make the finals weekend.
“There are no easy groups in the play offs. We have to play Telford (league champions), Guildford (Elite League bound) and Peterborough. Whoever is in the top eight are all very good teams but the sides we have to face are all beatable at home. If you can do the business at home and pick up a point or two on the road, you are in with a chance - that's our aim.
“Peterborough is a tough place to play, a real challenge for our first game but we are in good form over the last 7 or 8 games, we've been competitive. There have been times where we have made errors and given unnecessary goals away but we can tighten that up and limit mistakes. We will be competitive and we will be there or thereabouts”.
The Steeldogs first home playoff game is at iceSheffield on Sunday (26th) against Telford, face-off at 5:30.