BITTER rivals the Sheffield Steelers and the Nottingham Panthers will clash on Saturday, in the semi-final of the Elite Ice Hockey League play-offs.
Steelers booked their place in the finals weekend, held at the NIC in Nottingham, with a quarter-final win over two legs against Dundee.
Nottingham meanwhile overcame another Scottish club, the Braehead Clan.
Steelers cptain Jonathan Phillips is expecting another tough battle against the Panthers on Saturday afternoon, in the first semi-final.
“All our games against Nottingham are like play off finals,” he said.
“We are used to playing them in their own rink and in front of a sell out crowd. I think come play-off finals time the home advantage that Nottingham will have isn’t that great, with fans in the building from all the teams in the league. That won’t worry us”.
Phillips believes both teams will have something to prove come Saturday: “I’m expecting another war. Nottingham had their problems earlier on and seem to have come through them. They have won the Challenge Cup and now want to go on and take the play-offs and a second trophy. That’s a bit like us, we came through a difficult league schedule and won the league championship. Like we did a couple of years ago we now want to go on and win the double.”
“The teams stack up well against each other, I’m sure it will be the game of the weekend, old rivalries will come out and there is nothing like a Steelers Panthers game. We have all week to prepare, all week to look forward to the finals. We don’t want the season to end, we want to go to the final game and lift the trophy once again.”