John Armstrong reckons Sheffield Steelers can take a leaf out of Cardiff Devils’ book this season.
The Welsh were deserved Elite League and Challenge Cup double champions last season and had Steelers’ number for most of the 2016-17 campaign.
But the way Steelers came back from a 0-3 deficit to Nottingham Panthers last weekend to earn a smash-and-grab win signalled something to centreman Armstrong.
He thinks the character of that come-back illustrated their underlying determination, skill and guts.
“I think that was more the mental side of the game - mediocre teams...once they get down a couple of goals, they kind of give in” he said.
“The best teams always come back, they always believe they can do it.
“And Cardiff did that last year - they did it against us.
“So we’ve showed we can do that, this year.”
Steelers host Cardiff for the first time this season at the Arena on Saturday (7pm.)
And Armstrong says Sheffield must impose themselves from the off.
“They were the better team, last year. They showed it time and time again.
"They came back, every close game they were beating us. We have got to set the tone early on and show them we can be the better team this year.”
The 29-year-old Canadian said Steelers had savoured the win over Panthers last Sunday, saying: “It was a great way to start the season - beating these guys in our own building, there’s nothing better than that.”
He conceded there had been a few mistakes but feels the defence, in particular, had improved on last year’s showing, in terms of their puck distribution.
“Our 'D' are creating offence, they are making good passes, they are allowing us to get out of the zone with the puck instead of just giving the puck away” said Armstrong.
“I think that’s the big difference.”
He was also buoyed by the Power Play performance in the win at Manchester Storm.
“That could be a big advantage for us.”