Treble-hunting Sheffield Steelers draw Fife Flyers in qualifying round

Sheffield Steelers hope to get the final part of their Grand Slam project off to a Flyer on Friday.
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The champions and Challenge Cup holders will have to overcome Fife Flyers at iceSheffield on that day and in the second leg of the play-off quarter-final on the Sunday, (April 14) if they are to progress through to the final four at Nottingham.

Fife, on paper the league's third weakest team, will be the underdogs.

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But they will relish that tag and fancy their chances of pulling off an upset after qualifying for the first time since 2018.

Aaron Fox's men aim to start the quarter-final series at home in the way they have dispensed with Flyers in three earlier regular season games.

They won all of those games, piling in 18 goals in the process.

That was at the Arena, though - a venue that became unavailable when pop group Take That decided they would roll into town.

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IceSheffield has been sold out, with no Fife fans amongst the ticket-buyers.

Robert Dowd and a  high-flying Fife Flyer. Pic Dean WoolleyRobert Dowd and a  high-flying Fife Flyer. Pic Dean Woolley
Robert Dowd and a high-flying Fife Flyer. Pic Dean Woolley

Sheffield have lost once at the Fife Arena and Fox never tires of repeating that it is a hard place to play.

While Steelers prepare for the Scots, it has been a season from hell for Nottingham Panthers.

They ended up in ninth spot meaning their season - and that of bottom club Glasgow Clan - finished early.

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The full line-up for the quarter-finals:Sheffield Steelers (1) vs. Fife Flyers (8)Cardiff Devils (2) vs. Dundee Stars (7)Belfast Giants (3) vs. Coventry Blaze (6)Manchester Storm (4) vs. Guildford Flames (5.)

Play off formatPlay off format
Play off format

*The final weekend of the regular season, in which Steelers won and then lost at Belfast Giants, ended with the South Yorkshire side an amazing 14 points clear of second-place Cardiff Devils.

Sheffield scored more goals (average 4.22) and conceded fewer (2.09) than the others across the EIHL with a win percentage of 0.84.

They simply swept the board, with Mitchell Balmas being the league's top points scorer and Matt Greenfield topping the goaltending stats.

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Their discipline was good too, they took the fewest minutes in the penalty box.

And the statistic that really matters illustrated how much the fans enjoyed the regular average number of 7,758 watched Arena games.