Confident Sheffield Steelers can beat Red Bull Salzburg

Davey Phillips in action against HV

Davey Phillips in action against HV

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Paul Thompson will have one main message for his Sheffield Steelers troops as they take to the ice on Saturday night against host side Red Bull Salzburg of Austria.

“You have proved you can live with the best in Europe - now go out and win.”

Markus Nilsson

Markus Nilsson

Steelers held Swedish giants HV71 for most of the first Champions Hockey League game, on Thursday, before two goals in the last 10 minutes saw them lose 5-3.

Referees in Europe are always more likely to call penalties when the stick leaves the ice - and Sheffield suffered penalties they wouldn’t have done in the Elite League.

But, five-on-five, Steelers proved a match for an expensively assembled squad.

Red Bull, while playing in a less-celebrated League than the Swedish elite, have phenomenal financial backing and attract NHL players - including Canadian defenceman Mathieu Roy, who iced for Edmonton Oilers, and will come up against his namesake Steelers winger.

Ben O Connor

Ben O Connor

“Red Bull have the top Austrian nationals and the pick of some very good imports” said Thompson.

“But we overcame any fear of being able to compete at the highest European level with the performance at HV71.

“We are expecting to come up against another highly-skilled fast team, but we are not here to make the numbers up and if we are to progress we’ll want something out of the game.”

Two out of three go through to the next round.

A win, or an overtime point, or a low-scoring loss in Austria would help Sheffield if they can do well at home against the same side.

Thompson was pleased with his players in Sweden, in terms of performance, attitude and fitness.

Considering the fact the club crashed 9-1 at Frolunda Gothenburg 12 months ago to the day, such a narrow loss is a measure of how deeper the current squad is.

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