Sheffield Steelers desperate to avoid quarter final pitfall again

Paul Thompson  issues instructions to Ben O'Connor
Paul Thompson issues instructions to Ben O'Connor

Steelers coach Paul Thompson says the whole club does not want to go through the agony again of missing out on the Play-Off finals.

Sheffield were turfed out of the competition at the quarter-final stage last season - and if they lose this weekend in their games with Nottingham Panthers, lightning will strike twice.

“We can’t have that again- no way,” said the coach.

“Last year we didn’t get the goaltending we needed, but we have it this time.

“Of course it hurt everybody last year, no one wants to sit out such an occasion.

“We have a great opportunity to progress through this time and I am confident our guys can do it.”

Thompson said there was a steely focus about the group as they prepared for tonight’s first leg at the NIC.

“We have had strong, intense training sessions,” he said.#

“There is a grumpiness, a quiet, that you would want and expect to see at the start of a Play Off series.

“The competition levels have been good, the battle drills have been at the level you’d want and they are ready to go.

“This is a group which has a real determination to get through.”

The coach doesn’t underestimate the threat posed by Nottingham, who visit Sheffield tomorrow.

“I don’t think they will be happy with their season overall, but we would never underestimate them and credit where it is due, they won the Continental Cup and that was a great achievement.

“We have been third in the League and Challenge Cup finalists, now we want to end the season with a trophy.”

Panthers’ forward Alex Nikiforuk has called Steelers “a great team with a great coach. They are fast and big around their net. They have got a great Power Play, but we have just got to play our game.”