Sheffield Steelers are trending in the right direction and could go all the way to the top, says Brendan Connolly
Brendan Connolly says Sheffield Steelers are trending in the right direction - and feels they could do that all the way to the top of the league.
The former Belfast Giants and Glasgow Clan forward says Sheffield will go into every game this season feeling that they can win.
And the current crop is hugely different to last year's team- which "ruined themselves" when they went behind in a game.
Connolly, one of many success stories in Steelers' pre-season games, is gearing up to play Nottingham Panthers in the Challenge Cup on Saturday at Sheffield Arena.
After three 'friendly' wins, he said expectations are high.
"I think where we want to be. We expect to win every game for sure with the talent we have in the room,” he said.
“It's just a matter of keeping the work ethic high and the energy up and I think for the most part in the first three games we have had we've done that and there are a lot of good habits in our game right now."
Playing against Sheffield last year, he felt: "On paper, they had a really good team.
"I just felt like it seemed like if you could get on them early they kind of would ruin themselves...if they got a couple of goals on you then it was like 'Watch out' and the skill would take over.
“But they never really had that push-back, that bounce-back. So fortunately for us at Glasgow we were able to get off to really good starts against them and kind of kept them at bay for most of the year."
Connolly has fond memories of both Belfast and Glasgow.
But he said, in the summer months: "I thought Sheffield was trending in the right direction with the players Foxy (coach Aaron Fox) was bringing in. I thought it was something special and I wanted to be part of it."
Connolly has moved around in his career but would love to put roots down.
“The nature of a one-year contract is you get to explore the market - see who wants you and wants you the most and what situation you think is going to fit your game.
"Obviously, later on in my career I am looking for a team that I know can contend for trophies and I feel that this is one of them."
Connolly feels it to be a special privilege to be an alternate captain.
“Any time you are viewed as a leader that feels good. I think we have an old enough group that it is kind of leadership by committee. A letter (on a team shirt) is just a letter - we have enough guys in there to hold each other accountable."
The 33-year-old forward is looking forward to locking horns against Panthers.
"They usually put together a good they always have some high-end guys...they are definitely going to be a tough team to play."