Sheffield Steelers should be too fast and strong for Nottingham Panthers

Mike Ratchuk believes Sheffield Steelers’ speed and power should be enough to end Nottingham Panthers’ interest in the Play Offs this weekend.

But the versatile skater will play no part, personally, in the quarter final legs.

He has a hand injury which has required surgery.

Steelers, who ended third in the League, play Panthers at the NIC on Saturday (7pm) before completing the mini-series on Sunday at home (5pm.)

“It will be a great match-up, we have done well against them but they are a very tough team.

“For us, we just have to play our game and be physical and play fast against them” said the 29-year old American.

Mike Ratchuk celebrates a goal for Sheffield, along with John Armstrong

Mike Ratchuk celebrates a goal for Sheffield, along with John Armstrong

Ratchuk is optimistic that current team form will see them make the final four.

“We have come to our truest form, we have been playing a lot better, the last two weeks, I think we have been playing well” he commented.

“We have been getting into our systems on the Power Play we are moving the puck really well getting more chances and our penalty kill is now outstanding.”

But the player will have to yield his spot the line-up. “Every guy who is injured hopes that they still have a shot at playing it’s been pretty sore and in bad pain so it doesn’t look good but I am still holding out a little bit of hope.

“It doesn’t matter if its a play off or a regular season game I hate sitting out. I hate watching. So it will be tough if I have to sit out. But you have to be there and still support everybody.

“It’s a little bit of tendon and nerve is more the bending of the finger than anything else.”

Ratchuk said he was a “huge fan” of team-mate John Armstrong

“I think he has been one of the more consistent guys throughout the year.

“Even if it’s a rough patch he’s had, he’s still a guy you notice every night.”

He added: “He has so much skill and he is so fast for such a big body.”

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