Nottingham Panthers 5-2 Sheffield Steelers (Elite Series Final Match Two) 02.05.21
The Nottingham Panthers were crowned champions of the Elite Series on Sunday night after beating Sheffield Steelers for the second successive evening in the second match of a best of three final.
Ben Bowns got the start between the pipes for the Panthers opposite John Muse for the Steelers.
It took Nottingham no time at all to take the lead.
Owen Griffiths made a diving interception to stop a Steelers’ pass leaving the zone and his diversion sent the puck to Austin Cangelosi (2.44) who beat Muse one-on-one with a sweet move.
The Steelers’ netminder had to be alert to stop Kevin Domingue adding a second shortly after and then, as you’d expect with so much on the line, both teams knuckled down defensively.
Scoring chances were kept to a minimum, with Sheffield reduced to shooting from range thanks to some efficient Panthers’ defence, and Nottingham went into the first intermission holding a one-goal lead.
Nottingham had to kill a penalty to Mark Matheson (22.16) after his retaliation to a bad hit along the boards and just after returning to full strength Brettt Perlini almost found Kevin Domingue at the back door but the puck was just out of his reach.
The Panthers got a powerplay of their own when Jeremy Beaudry (26.02) was assessed a two-plus-two minute minor penalty for accidental high-sticks, the Steelers killed off the first two minutes but in the second half of the powerplay Nottingham struck.
Nick Dineen (29.10), who moments earlier just missed with a one-timer, gathered the puck and fired a rocket into the top shelf of Muse’s goal to make it a 2-0 game.
The game became quite chippy after the Panthers’ goal with Sheffield in particular throwing their wait around, one such hit through the numbers of GB international Robert Lachowicz saw him leave the game.
Owen Griffiths was also on the end of a knee-on-knee hit behind the play but he did return to the action.
Sheffield did draw a powerplay with a little over ten seconds to go in the period when Lewis Hook was sent to the box for hooking but Nottingham survived the period.
Robert Dowd (41.57) picked up a rebound early in the third period to get Sheffield back into the game but Lewis Hook (49.53) foxed Muse with a quick shot from a Robert Lachowicz face-off win to restore the Panthers’ two-goal lead.
A late two-plus-two high-sticking penalty to Josh Tetlow gave Sheffield a window of opportunity and Brendan Connolly (55.17) forced the puck home to set up a tense finish to the game.
There was to be no comeback for the Steelers though as Kevin Domingue (57.56) fired into the Steelers goal before Austin Cangelosi (59.20) to see the Panthers crowned as Elite Series champions.
The victory wraps up a fantastic campaign of Elite Series Ice Hockey and after a slow start the Panthers grew better and better in a competition where they would win their last six games on the spin.
*Main image @PanthersIHC the players celebrate winning the Elite Series.