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Can anyone stop the Sheffield Steelers from winning the treble?

The Steelers own a blistering 34-3-1 record, leading the pack by a 14-point margin as we enter the business end of the Elite League season.

2023 Playoff Finals Weekend treble - Sheffield Steelers head coach Aaron Fox is "delighted" with his team's recent business (Image: Mark / All Sports Photography)

With the Sheffield Steelers miles clear at the top of the Elite League and preparing to host the Challenge Cup final next month, there is a very real possibility that Aaron Fox’s side will add their names to the list of treble-winning teams.

Unless the Steelers author one of the biggest capitulations in the history of professional sport, they will win the regular-season title. With the final stretch firmly in view, they own a blistering 34-3-1 record and lead the second-placed Cardiff Devils by a 14-point margin. It isn’t close and that won’t change before the end of the campaign.

With that in mind, we can confidently predict that the Steelers are one-third of the way to a treble, leaving the Challenge Cup and Playoffs to win. Will anyone be able to prevent an orange clean sweep of this season’s silverware?

Guildford Flames stand in the way of Sheffield Steelers’ treble hopes

There are three reasons to believe that the Guildford Flames could upset the Steelers in the Challenge Cup final.

Paul Dixon has already overseen a win at the Utilita Arena this term, with Guildford beating Sheffield 3-2 in a shootout on 9 December. The Flames produced a gutsy performance, relying on a 38-save display from netminder Eamon McAdam to stymie the Steelers (who dominated the deserve-to-win-o’meter on the night).

The Flames have recovered from a rocky start to the season, climbing into the relative comfort of midtable. This isn’t a repeat of last season’s showdown between the treble-winning Belfast Giants and the struggling Fife Flyers.

treble - Dominic Cormier, Sheffield Steelers (Image: Dean Woolley)

Dominic Cormier, Sheffield Steelers (Image: Dean Woolley)

Finally, we’re talking about hockey – the most random and luck-driven sport on the planet. While the formbook suggests that the Steelers have become unbeatable of late, puck luck and streaky netminding is often the difference between winning and losing.

Sheffield are clear favourites to win the Challenge Cup, but the Flames shouldn’t be discounted. Guildford are worthy finalists with a puncher’s shot at silverware.

Will the Sheffield Steelers pull through with their treble aspirations in the playoffs?

The Steelers aren’t the Elite League’s only in-form squad.

Pete Russell’s Devils are in the midst of a 12-game winning streak, while Guildford and the Coventry Blaze have also performed well of late.

The Giants remain impossible to read.

Adam Keefe’s side have taken a major backward step since last season, trailing Sheffield by 23 points with less than 20 games to play. However, they still sit third in the standings and are still one of the most offensively effective teams in the field.

Adam Keefe, Belfast Giants (Image: Brian Kidd)

Adam Keefe, Belfast Giants (Image: Brian Kidd)

Will the Giants be a threat in the postseason? It all comes down to their level of compete – how badly do they want it?

Playoff hockey is aggressive and random but nobody should expect Sheffield to miss out on the final four tournament this time around.

With the Steelers virtually locked in as the top seeds, they will likely face the Dundee Stars, Glasgow Clan, or Manchester Storm in the quarter-finals. While an upset isn’t impossible, it feels exceedingly unlikely.

Plenty could change between now and the end of the season – but, as it stands, the smart money is on a Steelers clean sweep.

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