Sheffield Steelers target Cup Final date

Mark Thomas and John DeCaro shield Sheffield Steelers' net
Mark Thomas and John DeCaro shield Sheffield Steelers' net
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RYAN FINNERTY will tonight order his Steelers players to forget the first-leg two-goal advantage they have over Challenge cup semi final opponents Braehead Clan.

Sheffield will take a 4-2 lead into the match as they try to confirm a place in the final against form-team Nottingham Panthers.

It is a game where the Scots have no option other than to attack - but they will find Sheffield ready to punish them on the counter.

“If we come out and score first it puts them in a bit of hole” said Finnerty. “But if they score first, they would put themselves right back into it. “That first goal is crucial. I want us to come out and establish some good dominance and set the tempo.

“But they have to come in and press, hopefully we can get some odd-man opportunities and catch them.”

There is no room for complacency though; especially after the dire performance on Saturday which saw Edinburgh Capitals win at iceSheffield.

“We can’t go into tonight thinking it’s a done deal” said Finnerty. “If we switch off they have some good offensive players and they can bury their chances. It’s important our approach is that this is 0-0 must-win game from which we need to advance.”

Finnerty identified Jordan Krestanovich as the biggest threat: “He is dangerous and scored every time we’ve played them” and adding his team must contain Ash Goldie, Jade Galbraith and Robert Farmer.

“If their goalie (Daren Machesney) is hot he can be unbeatable some nights, too.”

Finnerty said he was unsure whether Steve Goertzen, who injured the AC joint in his shoulder, will play. “I was hopeful a few days ago, more than I am now, he is struggling with mobility. We’ve missed his presence and leadership.”

The 28-year-old winger added: “My injury is day-to-day. I want to play, it’s a really important game, we will have to assess it.”

n Meanwhile, in the League, leaders Nottingham Panthers are on a seven-match winning streak and are four points clear of second placed Belfast Giants, having both played 46 games. If they beat Steelers next Saturday and win in Hull, they only need one win out of their two games in Belfast to ensure they lift the title.