Dave Simms: Phillips is Captain Marvel for Steelers

Dave Simms Telegraph Web Tile
Dave Simms Telegraph Web Tile

Steelers Captain Jonathan Phillips has scored many goals for the Steelers, I bet though he can’t think of one more important that the one at 31.31 on Wednesday evening.

The Steelers were 2-0 down in the semi final of the Challenge Cup, the series tied at 4-4 following Sheffield’s 4-2 win in Glasgow a week earlier.

Phillip’s side had dominated the play, they were also without leading stars Steven Goertzen (injured) and Shawn Limpright (wife gave both 20 mints before face off), 2-0 down the partizan atmosphere had subdued.

There was a tension in the crowd, on the bench and on the ice.

The Steelers needed a moment, Phillips, the captain who has lifted league titles and play-off championship trophies was to be the man who would give it them.

His goal just after midway through the game eased the nerves. Put the Steelers back ahead over the two legs. It changed the momentum. Brahead now had to push forward, it was they who tensed up, it was they who started to feel the strain.

Phillip’s goal changed the flow and allowed for Lee Esders to grab a second, tying the game and putting the Steelers two goals ahead overall and in the driving seat. The Clan pushed forward and the Steelers capitalised some more. Tait on the power-play and Michel scoring the goal of the night for 4-2 (8-4 on aggregate).

Cometh the moment, cometh the man, it’s why some people play and some people captain. After the game Phillips admitted he was nervous but the experience of winning before, lifting trophies, getting across the line got him and the Steelers through. Sheffield now face arch rivals and league champions elect Nottingham Panthers in the final. The first leg will be in Sheffield on Wednesday March 20 (face off 7.30pm).

Phillips described the series to me as a chance for redemption. A chance to get the rivalry with Nottingham back in the Steelers favour.

When Jonathan Phillips sits back in the armchair in years to come, that maybe a goal he remembers before many others. It made a difference, it changed momentum.

It could well bring a trophy back to Sheffield.

This weekend the Steelers effectively have two dead rubber matches as their league title aspirations are almost gone.

On Saturday travel to Nottingham - who look likely to win the league - hoping to delay the Panthers party and gain revenge for a loss in the East Midlands two weeks ago.

And on Sunday they visit mid-table Cardiff Devils.