Nottingham Panthers captain Danny Meyers expects the upcoming Christmas period to define his side's season.
A run of one win in six games last Christmas cost the Panthers a chance of a grand slam.
Meyers told BBC Radio Nottingham: "Last year, we were in a pretty decent position but then had a terrible Christmas period.
"It is massive for us. We lost our way last year and essentially that's what lost us the title."
Panthers face Coventry at the National Ice Centre on Saturday - the start of 10 games in 23 days, including back-to-back matches against Sheffield Steelers.
"Right now we are sitting in the weeds and everyone is talking about Sheffield and Belfast, which is fine by us," added Meyers.
"We are hoping injuries won't be too bad but Scott [Champagne] won't play this Saturday or Tuesday, but hopefully we will have him back for the Sheffield series.
"Last year, we won the double but if we had got through that Christmas period it could've been a grand slam.
"We sit nicely in the league at the moment and are in the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup against Braehead.
"Hopefully after this Christmas period we can emerge top of the league and have everyone else chase us.
"It is certainly an exciting period for a player and I am sure it is for the fans we well."