#POFW17 Steelers v Giants: A heavyweight clash

Paul Thompson, Sheffield Steelers coach (Pic: Dean Woolley)
Paul Thompson, Sheffield Steelers coach (Pic: Dean Woolley)

The second semi-final between Belfast Giants and Sheffield Steelers is a real heavyweight battle.

The two sides were key players in the race for the league title and the conference, with Giants claiming runners-up spot in each, pushing Steelers into third.

Derrick Walser, Belfast Giants

Derrick Walser, Belfast Giants

Paul Thompson, Sheffield coach, admitted it is ‘‘going to be a hell of a game.’’

There is certainly little to choose between the teams.

Thompson admitted: ‘‘“We’ve got a tough test against Belfast, a team that are similar in style to us.

‘‘We’ve had some really good games against them. We’re expecting another barn stormer.

“They’re a really good team, with skilled players and really deep. I like them a lot and it’s going to be the hell of a game.’’

For Derrick Walser, Giants’ player-coach, the stage is set for a great showdown.

“The best thing about this game against Sheffield is that they came to us a couple of weeks ago and won both games, so that leaves a bitter taste in your mouth,” he said.

“We want to respond to that. We seem to enjoy playing each other and I think both teams will want to put a show on in the right way.

“We have the biggest respect for this team and they’ve shown why they were champions two years in a row. They have a ton of character and we want to show our fans how good we are.

“Getting to the ‘dance’ though, there are too many variables about what could happen so we’re just going to go and see what happens.

“We’re going to lay it on the line in game one and if we get to the final, then we’ll worry about that so we have to do ourselves a favour and get the wins we need to pick up the final trophy of the year.

“If we don’t get to the final, I’ll be disappointed, but I’ll take a lot from the year we’ve had and remain proud of the guys.

“It’s going to be really tight for whoever reaches the final, no matter who it is and it’s no easy path to get through.”

>> If you are on Twitter, there are live updates from the play-off finals by following @fifefreepressed and use the hashtag #POFW17