Sheffield Steelers’ ace expects tough series against Nottingham Panthers

Robert Dowd expects quarter final opponents Nottingham Panthers to be at their best this weekend against his Sheffield team.

Nottingham won the Play Offs last year in their own NIC building and stand between Steelers and a place in the semi-finals.

While Panthers have had an inconsistent league season - they had nine fewer regulation wins than Sheffield - Corey Neilson knows how to get the best out of his team at the business end of the campaign.

“They are a good team and it shows in their record, they are good in the Play offs. They always seem to come good at the right time” said Dowd. “Their coach and everyone have been through that situation plenty of times before.”

Dowd predicted both games, Saturday away and Sunday at home, will be “a battle.” But one the deposed champions can “come out on the right side of.”

Steelers are at full strength, other than the hand injury to Mike Ratchuk, although players like Andreas Valdix and Yared Hagos will take existing issues into the series.

“It is tough at any part of the season when you pick up injuries to key guys” added Dowd. “You have just got to learn to deal with it and move on. These last few weeks we have been saying it over and over, we have got to try and get into a groove, get into a rhythm, because once these play offs start, they can be over so quick. So it is all about taking good momentum into these and go win.”

Off the ice, Steelers are making steps to protect the core of the club, for next season. I understand talks are at an advanced stage to bring coaching duo Paul Thompson and Jerry Andersson back, along with players like Mathieu Roy and Ervins Mustukovs. Dowd, Levi Nelson and John Armstrong have already committed.

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Robert Dowd celebrates after scoring against Cardiff

Robert Dowd celebrates after scoring against Cardiff