Noisy Sheffield Arena crowds can drive Steelers to cup and league conquest

Steelers’ captain Jonathan Phillips has revealed how the bumper Arena crowds can influence results this season.

Sheffield were trailing 2-0 to Nottingham Panthers last weekend, but the energy of the 7,138 crowd lifted them and there was no looking back as they drew level and went on to win 7-5.

“It’s fantastic, the crowds seem to get bigger and bigger all the time” said the winger, who scored his first of the season, last Sunday.

“It is such a big thing when you come out to a big crowd. If we’re down after a couple of shifts and the crowd gets behind us, then it’s fantastic. It is good to see them coming out.”

Steelers make their first trip to Nottingham’s NIC on Saturday and Phillips, a veteran of such contests, knows what to expect.

“We know how they like to come out in those first 10 minutes and we need to weather the storm, play the way we play and try and dictate the speed ourselves.”

Jonathan Phillips: Pic by Dean Woolley

Jonathan Phillips: Pic by Dean Woolley

As for Cardiff Devils, Sunday’s opponents at the Arena, the Welshman said: “They are little more suited to the bigger ice now and going to be a good game.”

It is another Challenge Cup contest.

“It is something that we have not won in the Elite League era and it is something we are going after...we want that trophy.”

Panthers expect to hand a debut to 6ft 4ins former NHL enforcer Brian McGrattan. He has played his last two seasons in the AHL, where he holds the League record for most penalty minutes in one season.

READ MORE: Click here for all the latest news from the ice hockey scene