If Sheffield Steelers cannot make up their lost ground and fail in their bid for a historic third-straight Elite League title, they will have their results against the other contenders to blame.
Third-place Sheffield have made a hash of things against the two clubs above them.
In 13 league games against leaders Cardiff Devils and second-spot Belfast Giants they have won only four times.
Two of the nine losses went into overtime and penalty shots, so they gathered just ten points from a possible 26.
And curiously they have never beaten either this season on a Saturday!
Last weekend’s back-to-back defeats at home to Giants stunned the majority of the 11,401 fans who attended both Saturday and Sunday.
For some, it was a nail in the coffin of the Steelers’ title bid.
Put frankly, they were rubbish in various critical parts of the games.
The champions are now eight points behind Cardiff (one game in hand) and seven behind Belfast (two games in hand.)
But, in fairness, games between Sheffield and their upwardly mobile rivals have been close - six of the defeats were all by a single goal.
Sheffield have been defeated in their last three home games, so it is unthinkable that they should fall again on Saturday against the less-threatening Dundee Stars, who are next to bottom of the Elite division and have to play on the previous night.
Can Steelers do the now highly improbable and still win the title?
Well, there are 17 games left and Cardiff have to come to Sheffield twice in March.
Steelers have a good team and the club knows how to win titles.
A new player is on the way, hopefully.
But they lost their second in the league spot to Belfast on December 10..and have found it hard to reclaim that position back, let alone the summit.
But this is Sheffield Steelers we are talking about.
Anything is possible.
LEAGUE RESULTS AGAINST THEIR PEERS
Sun 9th October Belfast W 5-1
Sun 16th October Cardiff L 2-5
Fri 18th November Cardiff L 2-4
Sun 20th November Belfast W 5-1
Sun 27th November Cardiff L 2-3
Sat 10th December Belfast L 1-2
Sun 11th December Cardiff L 2-3 (Penalty shots)
Sat 17th December Cardiff L 2-3
Sat 7th January Belfast L 1-2 (Overtime)
Sun 8th January Belfast W 4-1
Sun 22nd January Cardiff W 4-3
Sat 28th January Belfast L 2-5
Sun 29th January Belfast L-5-4
THIS WEEKEND’S FIXTURES
Steelers need Cardiff and Belfast to start losing.
Can it happen this weekend?
Saturday 4th February
Braehead Clan v Belfast Giants
Fife Flyers v Edinburgh Capitals
Manchester Storm v Coventry Blaze
Nottingham Panthers v Cardiff Devils
Sheffield Steelers v Dundee Stars
Sunday 5th February
Cardiff Devils v Manchester Storm
Coventry Blaze v Sheffield Steelers
Edinburgh Capitals v Belfast Giants
Fife Flyers v Nottingham Panthers