Sheffield Steelers v Manchester Storm - a must-win for both

Steelers
Steelers

Sheffield Steelers and Manchester Storm share one thing in common in their New Year matches against each other.

Both want to avoid being left behind as the two leading sides in the division seek to force a gap at the top.

Manchester Storm, tonight's visitors to Sheffield

Manchester Storm, tonight's visitors to Sheffield

Second place Belfast Giants beat Edinburgh Capitals 7-2 last night.

While table-topping Cardiff Devils are four points ahead of Giants, courtesy of 11 straight wins.

Steelers and Storm are locked jointly on 35 points, although the north west team has two games in hand.

The pair occupy fourth and fifth slots, consecutively and have been in similar form recently, with three league wins on the bounce.

Steelers host Storm at 7pm tonight and they meet again on New Year's Day (5.30pm.)

A brace of wins for either side would hand a psychological to to the victors in the second half of the season.

Steelers will be without suspended Zack Fitzgerald.

*Women's hockey: Sheffield forward Charlotte Edgar will replace Audrey Wood in the GB Under-18 Women’s squad for the IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship Division 1 Group B in Katowice.

The six-team tournament begins a week on Saturday (6th January) and runs until Friday 12th January 2018.

GB will come up against hosts Poland, along with Australia, China, Denmark and France.

Head coach, Cheryl Smith, said: “It is a shame that Audrey has had to pull out of the camp and she will undoubtedly be missed.

“But, as I said before, we have an exciting depth of young talent in the GB Women’s programme.

“Charlotte is a great replacement and she, like many others, was unlucky to miss out on selection in the first place.”