Nottingham Panthers 4-3 Sheffield Steelers (Elite Series) 16.04.21
On the back of Wednesday’s thrilling overtime win over Manchester Storm, Nottingham Panthers returned to Elite Series action on Friday night against arch-rivals Sheffield Steelers and raced into a four goal lead before eventually clinging on to a second successive victory which takes the team to within two points of Coventry Blaze (who they play tonight) in second.
Nottingham bucked their recent trend of going behind early when Brett Perlini (2.56) was slipped in behind the Steelers’ defence and his quick shot put the Panthers in front.
An outstanding pad save from Ben Bowns led to a Panthers’ counter-attack and Christophe Boivin (9.55) extended his point streak to six games when his one-timer overpowered Churchfield and crossed the line to make it a two-to-nothing scoreline.
Less than three minutes later Mark Matheson (12:48) tapped in at the back door after great link up play from Lachowicz & Betteridge to put the Panthers up by three and chase Churchfield from the Steelers’ net.
Curtis Warburton would have no better luck though as Kevin Domingue won the puck in the slot and Boivin (18.37) was on hand to score his second of the night to give Nottingham a four-goal lead at the first intermission.
A much more even second frame saw little in the way of clear cut chances for either side despite Bowns being the busier of the two netminders.
Two powerplay opportunities gave Sheffield chance to build some momentum and they took advantage on the second of the two, Jason Hewitt (39.42) tipping in Robert Dowd’s shot from the point to make it 4-1.
Another penalty from the Panthers inside the last minute gave Sheffield one minute and 43 seconds of man advantage to start the final frame.
Nottingham killed that penalty but Sheffield halved the Panthers’ lead with a little over ten minutes remaining in the period, Josef Mikyska (46.26) dancing through the defence and tucking the puck in at the near post.
Ollie Betteridge was denied on a breakaway by Warburton before Boivin almost completed his hat-trick but was denied by the right pad of the young netminder.
Things got tense when Liam Kirk (58.29) brought Sheffield to within one with a late powerplay goal but the Panthers stuck to the task at hand and skated out with the two Elite Series points on offer.
*Main image @PanthersIHC Christophe Boivin scoring in fine form.