Steelers’ rivalry with Panthers has not gone cold says Thomas

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When bitter rivals Sheffield Steelers and Nottingham Panthers clash on Saturday night it will as intense as ever, says Mark Thomas.

The Sheffield defenceman believes the rivalry is as passionate as ever between the two teams, and he says his mate-mates can’t wait for face off at the Motorpoint Arena.

Fifth placed Steelers will be keen to bounce back from their latest league outing, a 3-1 defeat at home to leaders Belfast Giants last weekend.

And fourth placed Nottingham Panthers who themselves were beaten 3-2 in overtime by Coventry Blaze on Sunday.

Thomas says the derby clash is always vital.

“I read that this fixture has lost it’s edge,” he said.

“I don’t see it that way. Those people should try and play in one of those games.”

“Every player knows the importance of the games and what they means to both clubs.”

With Steelers and Panthers being drawn to face off in the Challenge Cup semi-final in February, Thomas says Saturday night’s game has taken on added importance.

“I don’t think it would matter if we were one and two in the league or nine and 10, these games have meaning and emotion and as a player you want to play in more games like this.”

“Add to that the meetings next month in the cup semi-final and we have more than enough to be playing for this weekend. “

Thomas says Sheffield’s midtable position doesn’t dampen their ambitions to make it a special season.

He added: “There is still so much to play for.”

“We want to end up as high as possible in the standings, we want to win the cup, make the final four and then win that as well.”