Steeldogs face weekend of crucial clashes

Get ready for the crunch ... in more ways than one for Sheffield Steeldogs.

Andre Payette’s side face a massive weekend starting with a long trip to face their closest rivals, Bracknell Bees in the battle for the last play-off position followed by Sunday’s War of the Roses clash against EPL leaders, Manchester Phoenix at iceSheffield (5.30pm).

Tony Hand’s top squad includes tough guy Andrew Sharp and this will be the first time that he and Payette have met on ice since the Steeldogs player-coach received a sucker punch in an incident during a game in December.

Payette will be out to settle a score and he’s appealing to regular fans to ‘bring along extra support’ to get behind his team and become that extra man on the ice for the Steeldogs.

Tickets are on sale on the door priced £8 for adults, £6 concessions, £3 children (Under-8s free) and £18 family.

The Sheffield side failed to pick up any points in their home double-header action against Guildford Flames and Swindon Wildcats. A great solo effort from Janis Ozolins proved the only goal in the 3-1 defeat to second-placed Guildford who included former Steeler David Longstaff in their ranks.

Steeldogs’ closest rivals Swindon then secured their play-off spot with a nerve-shredding 2-1 victory, the home goal coming when Stuart Brittle finished off a powerplay late in the game.

A penalty against Swindon allowed the Steeldogs to pull their netminder late in the game, but when Edgars Bebris was given a tripping penalty inside the final 30 seconds the game was lost.