The big weekend approaches. The final.
The PredictorBet Play Off Finals and the Steelers taking on the Nottingham Panthers on Saturday evening - no wonder this event has been the quickest selling finals in the Elite League era.
Steelers qualified after beating Guildford Flames in an exciting series last weekend.
Head coach Paul Thompson made the big decision to leave out both Matt Marquardt and Tim Wallace as both Mathieu Roy and Andreas Jamtin returned to the line up
What will he do this weekend?
Marquardt has scored against the Panthers earlier this season. Wallace has been strong in all the games against them to date this year. Whilst he hasn’t scored the goals we had all hoped he hasn’t let the team down once in his performances.
One of the reasons for the changes last weekend was to put the strongest top 9 together as Guildford were a 3 line side.
The Panthers roll four units so will that change Thompson’s thinking.
The Steelers struggled a little in the face off circle last weekend. Wallace has been strong there all year. Will this enter the coaches’ thinking? I think going through the quarter finals is the toughest of things.
You are more frightened of not making the final four than you are excited about making it.
When the final hooter went in Guildford on Sunday I was more relieved than ecstatic.
The final 4 is of course where we enjoyed our success and championship last year. That incredible final against Cardiff.
Can we do it again? Why the hell not. We have shown all year when fit and healthy that we can compete and beat every other side in the league.
Our experience must count for something. Many of the old heads have been there before and know they may never have another opportunity to win again in their careers. Some might want to go out with a bang.
Fife have been tremendous all year but I don’t see them getting past Cardiff in the first semi final. The Devils make it for me.
Ironically the Steelers will be the home team in our semi final against Nottingham at 5pm Saturday evening. We are the one team best built to take the Panthers on in their own barn.
We won’t be intimidated one bit playing in front of that crowd in there as we have been in many heated exchanges inside the NIC this year alone. This will be game 6 there for us in 8 months. Our record is also excellent only being defeated their once.
Their so-called number two goalie Galbraith backstopped Nottingham to success against Belfast last weekend so I guess it will be he Vs Ervins Mustukovs between the pipes. Goaltending is crucial. Mustukovs produced his best performance last season at this stage of the year shutting out Belfast 2-0 in the Semi’s. Can the Moose shut the door once more?
The PredictorBet play offs and I’m predicting the Great Colton Fretter to be our man of the weekend. Don’t ask my why but it’s in my water.
I’m also predicting another great Steelers weekend.
See you there.