VIDEO: Sheffield Steelers must neutralise Nottingham Panthers' speed threat

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Paul Thompson knows his Sheffield Steelers side will be up against a speed machine on Sunday.

Nottingham Panthers are in super-quick mode after their impressive sojourn into the Champions Hockey League against quality opposition, SC Bern and Mountfield HK. And Steelers coach knows his injury-challenged side will have to be on tip-top form to beat them at the Arena (5pm.)

An aerial scene from a Steelers v Panthers game last March

An aerial scene from a Steelers v Panthers game last March

“They look really good. They are playing really well. The Champions League games bring the best out of you. Everyone wants to impress” he said.

Thompson said Panthers had played teams at a high pace: “We have got to be really wary of them.” He said that after Steelers’ own CHL adventures, they “spanked” a couple of teams because they were playing at such speed.

“We have to be ready for that. What I have seen from them I really like.

"They are a far more energetic team than last year. They get in on the forecheck, they are relentless, I think their ‘D’ is far more solid than it was.

“They are going to give us a real good game. But, so will we!” On Saturday, Sheffield open their Challenge Cup account at Manchester Storm. They too will pose problems, as they did in a recent friendly. “They are a good team, big size, they are tough to play in their own rink and have a lot of skill” he said.

“They have a goalie that fights hard for every puck. It is going to be a big test for us.” To succeed in both game, Steelers have to show more appetite around the opposition net. “You have got to get pucks to the net, got to get traffic. You have got to score those ugly, dirty goals. It will be a battle” said the coach.

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