Sheffield Steelers coach Aaron Fox wants big crowd to fill in for missing men

When Sheffield Steelers launched their mission for silverware back in September, they boasted a top-line brimming with skill, firepower and energy.

Wednesday, 23rd February 2022, 11:18 am

It won't have escaped coach Aaron Fox's attention that none of those players will be available for the biggest match of the season so far, tonight.

Marco Vallerand (injured) Brendan Connolly (long-term injured) and Anthony DeLuca (left after failing drugs test) will all be missing this evening when Steelers play Cardiff Devils in the Challenge Cup semi-final knockout match.

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But Sheffield have a deep bench and more than fancy their chances of winning through to the Final against Belfast Giants or Nottingham Panthers.

Coach Aaron Fox said this evening's elimination game carried huge significance.

He hopes for another big Arena crowd because it "brings a ton of energy for us."

Sheffield Steelers' Anthony DeLuca, Marco Vallerand and Brendan Connolly - Cup winners

Sheffield have been brilliant at home so far this season.

While they lost at the Arena to Cardiff on Sunday in a shoot-out, it was only their first home defeat in 14 games.

Defenceman Davey Phillips said: "We can't expect another 8,000 crowd as we had on Sunday, because it is a school night, of course. But this is a massive game. We are potentially just 60 minutes away from claiming a place in the Challenge Cup Final.

"The coach is right when he says a packed Arena gives us energy, so any help we can get will be appreciated.

"The Cup is hugely important to us, look at the boost we had when we won it in Cardiff the last time the competition was played.

“We want to defend the trophy and that means we want the same atmosphere in our building on Wednesday that was in Cardiff that night in March 2020.”

Steelers' last three attendances totalled 23,500.