Historic match for Sheffield Steelers - but they don't know much about their opponents
Steelers are preparing for the 1,8000th match in the club's history knowing little about their opponents.
Sheffield play Yunosk Minsk of Belarus, in Denmark, in the Continental Cup on Friday, followed by Saturday and Sunday dates with host club Rungsted Ishockey and Kurbads Riga, of Latvia.Coach Paul Thompson admits while their rivals will have enjoyed plenty of access to videos of them, he has seen little of them.And as such, he doesn’t really know where Steelers, on paper, stand in the likely pecking order, or which teams pose the bigger threat.“We have not got a lot of footage on Minsk - we will be playing them probably a little blinder than we would like” he said.However, the coach does know from the three relative League tables that the teams are all faring well, with Minsk, in particular, riding high.“They look like they have a lot of quality and a lot of ex KHL players” said Thompson.“Riga borrow players from the KHL and I have heard that they will be doing the same thing again for this tournament.“Ringstead are having a fantastic season in the Danish league, it is not going to be easy. It is a far tougher group than the other one. But we are looking to qualify, simple as that” he said.Thompson is pleased how his team is playing defensively - and that blue line will be shored up by the temporary return of Joonas Ronnberg, whom they are re-employing for the tournament.Steelers must be among the top two in the three-team group to go through to the Grand Final.While domestic hockey is the priority, Thompson says: “When you are there, you want to win it. With Nottingham winning it (in Italy in January) we haven’t got a choice!Sheffield will be boosted by the return of Colton Fretter, who has now concluded his six match ban.“I don’t think he is going to want to get suspended again, he has had long, long days” said Thompson. “He is absolutely raring to go.”As for injured Mathieu Roy: If he is available to play, we will play him. If we think it is best for the long haul that we don’t, we won’t.”