Video: Sheffield Steelers can copy the Coventry Blaze underdog model and win the playoffs, says forward John Armstrong

John Armstrong believes Sheffield Steelers are capable of repeating the play off feat achieved by Coventry Blaze in 2015.

Tuesday, 26th March 2019, 8:35 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th March 2019, 12:55 pm
Belfast Giants' Tyler Beskorowany with Sheffield Steelers' John Armstrong during Sunday's Elite Ice Hockey League game at the SSE arena. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye

Blaze ended in a modest sixth place in the regular Elite League season and were underdogs going into the post-season tournament.

But they upset the odds to beat then-champions Steelers 4-2 in the final.

Armstrong told The Star: "It is a short play off, you have seen it in the past. I think it was the year before I came to the league Coventry won...any team can get hot."

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John Armstrong against Cardiff Devils. Pic: Kerry Elsworth

The centre said it was important to go into the play offs with "confidence and swagger.

"All you have to do is win those four games and you get a trophy so in a short play offs anything can happen.

"First I wasn't sure about the short play off format I like the old school seven games but once I have played it and you see the playoff weekend, it is so exciting...I am telling the guys how pumped up and something we have to look forward to.

"Yeah, we are not going to win a trophy in the regular season but we can still win a trophy with the last game of the year...and that's a good year."

Armstrong accepts there has been to many ups and downs this season, in both league and cup.

But he said: "I think we are playing Tom's systems how he wants us to play them.

"We tweaked a couple of things, our systems a little bit, I think it worked really well.

"I think it came down to we were trying to play the system too much but forgetting to skate and just play hockey.

"Lately as long as we are skating hard we are playing well.

"When we sit back a little bit, or are unsure, other teams are picking us apart."

That was mirrored last weekend with a win against Milton Keynes Lightning and then defeat at Belfast Giants.

"Sometimes this year when we have been down and not winning games, we don't have the swagger we don't have the confidence that we need, we had it (in the last home game, against MKL) and we have got to keep that going” said the Canadian.

"We have a good team we have just got to show up and play hard."