The unique world of Sheffield Steelers
You'd think Sheffield Steelers would lose the capacity to surprise their fans and the sport, after all these roller-coaster years.
But the one thing you should always bear in mind with this Elite League club is to expect the unexpected.
Last weekend provided many eye-brow raising events that simply could not have been anticipated.
* In a two-game series critical to the club’s Play Off seeding position, back-up goalie Brad Day iced both games and played his socks off.
* After 12 games being landlocked in fifth position, they seized hold of third position in the final standings.
* After losing at home to Nottingham on March 17, (a bizarre result in it own right, considering Steelers outshot Panthers 60-30) they won all four remaining matches to become the form team of the division - oddly enough, alongside Nottingham.
* Eric Neiley, who had scored one goal in the previous 10 matches notched his first Steeler hat-trick on Saturday against Edinburgh Capitals and two more on Sunday at Manchester Storm.
* After a season where Sheffield have struggled the keep imports fit, they now have two more overseas players than they can find room for.
* And the most eye-opening factor of all - after all the speculation on Saturday about potentially playing Belfast Giants or Fife Flyers in the Play Off quarter finals, they will be meeting Guildford Flames.
Guildford have been a breath of fresh air in the EIHL since coming on board, but you’d have to fancy Steelers to get past them (famous last words, considering the amount of times the unexpected happens.)
But Sheffield will certainly be favourites, given the return to the ranks of Mathieu Roy and Andreas Jamtin - the competition for places will never have been greater - that edge coming just at the right time.
Steelers finished the 56 games on 71 points, just ahead of Nottingham in the standings.
They had four more regulation-time wins than the team that came immediately above them, Manchester.
It all points towards a fascinating run-in. The end of season tournament quarter finals now looks like this:
Friday: First leg Belfast v Nottingham, Coventry v Cardiff.
Saturday: Fife v Manchester, Steelers v Guildford.
Sunday: Second leg: Cardiff v Coventry, Guildford v Sheffield, Manchester v Fife, Nottingham v Belfast.