Sheffield Steelers star on losing title battle to Belfast Giants - 'It's going to sting for a long time'

In the dressing room corridor, Adrian Saxrud-Danielsen didn't really know what to do with himself.

Tuesday, 12th April 2022, 1:08 pm

He hung around, his mind numbed by defeat and the realisation that the Elite League title he and his Sheffield Steelers' team-mates had worked so hard for, had gone to Belfast Giants.

Minutes after Sunday's shoot-out loss on home ice, it was plain to see what failure means to a professional athlete.

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You can accuse Sheffield Steelers of failing in the final stretch, but you can't accuse them of not caring.

Saxrud-Danielsen said: "We are all devastated right now, I don't know what to say, just sad, we're very tired right now we wanted that win so bad and didn't get it."

The 29-year-old Norwegian defenceman accepted that while Sheffield had deserved their spot at the top of the EIHL division for some time, they slipped during a "bad stretch" and ultimately did not earn the right to call themselves champions.

Belfast Giants had the last laugh over Sheffield Steelers by winning the EIHL title

"It is sad to see them lift the trophy in our building, it is not something we want to see" he said.

"It is going to sting for a long time. Somehow we have to re-focus on for the Play Offs."

As for Belfast he said: "They played well for the whole season, they played as a team and they played hard and stuck to their systems. All credit to them."

Now Sheffield have the task of rebuilding in the remaining two dead-rubber League games, the first at Glasgow Clan on Wednesday night.

Marco Vallerand patched up during Sunday's Belfast game Pic Dean Woolley

"We are all professionals here and we will all be ready on Wednesday and we are going to find our focus and our momentum for the Play Offs."

Saxrud-Danielsen had been in decent form in recent times, and offensively he chalked up a season-high against Manchester Storm this month with three assists.

Reflecting on his performances over the campaign he said: "I played hard and simple, tried to be stable and make the other players better, I think I have succeeded with that.

"There are games that are bad and some games that are better I think everyone has that, I am always a little critical at this time of year there is always stuff I want to do better and I try."

Adrian Saxrud-Danielsen jousts with a Clansman

Steelers now travel to Glasgow, one of the rinks where their title charge unraveled; they lost 5-3 and saw forward Marco Vallerand injured, the talisman then missing out on half a dozen key games.

From there, Steelers travel to Northern Ireland to reacquaint themselves with Belfast.

Many people had expected that game to have been the decider for the championship, instead, it is simply an exercise in completing a season where Sheffield were the bridesmaids, not the bride.