Paul Thompson has issued a stern warning to his Sheffield Steelers on the eve of their Elite League clash with Cardiff Devils at Ice Area Wales on Wednesday (7.30pm).
Head coach Thompson was angry after indiscipline gave Devils a series of powerplay opportunities in Sheffield when the home team won 5-2.
“I’m not going to put up with it,” said Thompson.”Guys won’t play. Simple as that.
“We have to be cool because Cardiff’s powerplay has destroyed us all year.”
American Zak Fitzgerald upset Thompson when he earned 38 minutes in penalties for offences including unsportsmanlike conduct and abuse of officials.
Devils fired 50 shots at Sheffield goalie Ervins Mustukovs, but the home team failed to make the most of their chances.
Head coach Andrew Lord and his team need two wins from their final six fixtures to be crowned champions – if second-placed Storm win all of their four remaining games.
Devils are six points clear at the top, ahead of second-placed Storm, and aiming to win the title for a second year.
Manchester are the only team who can still catch Cardiff and the rivals still have to play each other in Cardiff Bay.
Devils will be without defenceman Tyson Strachan, who has been suspended for one game after being thrown out in Sheffield on Sunday.
Strachan was dismissed for checking to the head and the incident was reviewed by the department of player safety, who rubber-stamped the one match penalty.
Swedish defenceman Jonas Westering says: “We have had some problems with Cardiff this year and if we are going to win the play-offs we are going to beat them again.
“Sunday’s win was good for our confidence. Devils are probably going to win the League and we are looking forward to the play-offs.
“We have to play good defensively and bring our A game.”
Devils could have Ben Bowns back between the pipes after recovering from an injury, although coach Lord will make a late decision.
Lord’s men follow their home game against Steelers on Wednesday (7.30pm) by flying to play Belfast Giants in Northern Ireland on Friday. Cardiff and Sheffield then clash again at Ice Arena Wales on Sunday (6pm).
All three of those fixtures are crunch games in the Erhardt Conference. Belfast stand top of the four-team Conference, just ahead of Devils having played two extra fixtures.
Remaining Devils fixtures:
Wednesday 14 v Sheffield Steelers H (7.30pm)
Friday 16 v Belfast Giants A (7pm)
Saturday 17 No game
Sunday 18 v Sheffield Steelers H (6pm)
Wednesday 21 v Manchester Storm H (7.30pm)
Saturday 24 v Belfast Giants H (7pm)
Sunday 25 v MK Lightning H (6pm)
Devils tickets for home matches can be booked via CLICK HERE or CALL 0800 0842 666 to book
CLICK HERE to be redirected to the full fixtures list.
ELITE LEAGUE STANDINGS
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