No more slip ups on home ice - that’s the message from Sheffield Steelers veteran Jason Hewitt.
Last Sunday’s home defeat to Belfast Giants left Steelers trailing seven points behind the Irish pacesetters. And with home form patchy, to say the least, a morale-boosting win over local rivals Nottingham Panthers is essential for Arena fans, tonight.
“I think every player in our club realises the importance of these two games this weekend” said the winger, whose side travels to the NIC tomorrow.“Both Steelers and Panthers have lost games they should have won this year, neither of us can afford too many more defeats.
“I think having two high octane games like these is perfect for us coming off the back of the Belfast defeat. We have to be more consistent and we have to be better - and we will be.
“We may have a couple of players out (Dustin Kohn, concussion, is out and Stefan Meyer is deemed highly unlikely) but it is up to the rest of us to pull in the slack, work harder, do more and play like our lives depend on it.
“We care as much as anyone about the points and this rivalry with Nottingham, we realise the importance of the games on the scoreboard and in the stands. We are in the business of sending fans home happy not disappointed, we want to win for the supporters but more so for the club and the team.”
Steelers attracted almost 7,500 fans for the September Challenge Cup game against Panthers- a 4-1 loss. Sheffield also lost (7-3) at the NIC that month, watched by 6,724.
It is fair to say ticket sales for today’s game have mirrored home form...management are hoping for a late surge.
*Steve Goertzen is certainly leading by example, as skipper.
The Canadian right wing is not known for his points-output - he scored just three points in 43 games in the Czech League two seasons ago, yet he is currently third top Steeler scorer with 6+14 (20pts) in 18 games.