Never have two games against the Hull Stingrays been so anticipated. But when there is talk of a championship in Sheffield, playing your closest geographical rivals takes on a whole new meaning.
It was the Stingrays who caused the shock of last weekend with victory against the title chasing Belfast Giants - and now they will be looking to continue their good form and turn the Steelers over.
In years gone by you could almost bank the points against the likes of the Stingrays and Capitals if you were a serious title challenger. But these days the Elite League is very different, with each team capable of taking points off every other one.
It makes for a better, more exciting and entertaining league, that’s for sure.
With every weekend the Steelers are looking more composed, more settled and more assured. With the return from injury of Robert Dowd, the Steelers instantly became a more balanced unit.
The weeks Dowd was out, the Steelers struggled to find a second line with punch despite the heroics of Tyler Mosienko and Jonathan Phillips. Now if it wasn’t for the Steelers first line of Roy, Forney and Fretter, we would all be hailing the Mosienko, Dowd and Phillips unit as the best in the league. All of a sudden, the Steelers have a one-two punch, two lines that can quiet easily change a game in a heartbeat.
Championship teams need that kind of weapon, and the Steelers now have it.
They also now have a third unit that scored in both games last weekend. New signing Danny Bois has settled in nicely with Phil Hill and reborn Rod Sarich.
It may be me but I see Sarich smiling a lot more now. Perhaps after years of being the go-to guy, Roddy is happy in his new role and just enjoying playing more now. A happy Sarich is a better Sarich, and I like what he brings us up front. He is big, strong but also super skilled. That third unit has some experience, doesn’t it?
There was a turning point for me and it came when the Steelers were 2-1 down in Coventry on Sunday. Remember the Steelers had led 1-0 after the first period of a game at the Sky Dome two weeks ago.
Then the Blaze came out and hit five without reply and won the game. On Sunday again the Steelers led 1-0 and then in the middle period conceded twice to trail 2-1. This time the Steelers didn’t crumble, this time they gritted it out and hit three of their own inside three minutes.
They showed character, guts, desire and everything you would want from a Steelers side. Everything you would want from a side chasing a championship.
That’s what makes this weekend so important. I guess with every win, every next weekend becomes even more important. The Steelers can’t afford a slip this weekend. For me, it’s a four-point for Gerad Adams and his men.
n Inexplicably, the Arena has decided to close between our game on Saturday and the Boxing day fixture against Nottingham Panthers. So if you want to be one of the 8,000 fans inside the Arena on Boxing Day, get your tickets before Saturday!
The Box Office will re-open at 10am on Boxing Day morning – the rush for tickets on the night will mean queues and the game can not be held up from its 4pm start.
We have asked the Arena to open doors 30 minutes early on Boxing day but this request was denied…. You couldn’t make it up could you!
So please book your tickets in advance and is will make life easier for you and us. You will be able to book Steelers v Panthers tickets still on line between the 20th and the 26th. We think over 8,000 of you will be inside the arena on Boxing Day, make sure you are one of them.