Osman: We are up for Steelers battle
HULL Stingrays' Dominic Osman believes table-topping Sheffield Steelers will be fired up for revenge at Hull Arena tonight.
High-spending Steelers endured a close-season of mickey-taking after being knocked out of the play-offs by Stingrays last March.
The 7-4 aggregate victory was one of the biggest shocks in Elite League history – and Osman's side have dined out on the performances ever since.
Both teams have strengthened during the summer, with the Steelers making no secret of the fact they are splashing more cash this season.
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Osman, who was part of the Rapid Solicitors Stingrays side which delivered the remarkable result, said: "They are a good team and are always near the top.
"After what happened last year they have everything together, but we will be ready for the challenge and up for it.
"Sheffield will come out hard and will want to make a statement, but so do we.
"They will be a great test for us."
Sheffield are top of the early overall Elite League table with five wins out of six and lead the Erhardt Conference, but tonight represents their first foray into this season's Challenge Cup.
Stingrays top the Gardiner Conference, and are second in Challenge Cup Group B, having made a largely impressive start to the campaign.
They have yet to lose by more than two goals, with their best result being a 7-5 win over Cardiff Devils.
"We've got off to a better start this season than we did last year," said Osman.
"The guys worked hard over the summer and it shows. Everyone is ready and prepared for this year.
"We don't want to be playing catch-up like last year.
"It was very frustrating last year, but we've got couple of wins under our belt now and that's developed our confidence.
"Once we develop more confidence we will be very dangerous."
Steelers arrive fresh from back-to-back wins over Nottingham and Belfast, while Stingrays took three out of four points against Edinburgh – winning 6-3 on Saturday and losing 4-3 after a sudden-death penalty shoot-out on Sunday.
Osman proved Saturday's match-winner, netting a welcome hat-trick.
"Sylvain Cloutier said we had a choice last weekend.
"We could play well and be top of our division by the end of the weekend, or lose both games and be bottom," said Osman.
"The response to that statement from the guys was really good.
"We needed the points on what was a very important weekend."
STINGRAYS are looking for a new club doctor, starting for tonight's home clash.
Anyone interested, please contact team owner Bobby McEwan on 07815 174433.