Sheffield Steel The Show

Nottingham Panthers 2-4 Sheffield Steelers (Elite League) 23.03.24

The clash between the Nottingham Panthers and the Sheffield Steelers lived up to its reputation as an eagerly anticipated fixture in the hockey calendar. With Sheffield having recently missed the chance to secure the league title against the Devils, losing 4-0, they entered this encounter seeking redemption. Rok Stojanovic guarded the net for the Panthers, while Greenfield took up the position for the Steelers. Notable absences plagued the Panthers lineup, with Carl Neill, Logan Neilson, Mike Caruso, and Jake Ryczek sidelined, contrasting with the Steelers who boasted a full complement of players.

Period 1 – Panthers Take the Lead

The opening minutes of the game saw both teams exchanging promising opportunities, setting a fast pace early on. As the period progressed, the frantic pace eased, allowing the teams to settle into their respective strategies. The Steelers initiated their trademark aggressive forecheck, posing challenges for the Panthers’ defence. The Panthers seized the lead when a swift breakout led to Luciani delivering a cross-ice pass to Michaud, whose deflection found Lunsjo, beating Greenfield with a precise shot at 10:03. Although the Panthers came close to extending their lead on multiple occasions, including a clever pass from Henbrant, the score remained 1-0 heading into the intermission, with the Panthers deserving of their advantage.

Period 2 – Deadlock Breaks

Despite the Panthers’ strong showing in the first period, the Steelers quickly levelled the score just 23 seconds into the second period, as Dominic Cormier’s tight-angle shot eluded Stojanovic. The teams traded chances throughout the period, with the Steelers applying sustained pressure in the offensive zone, while the Panthers capitalized on higher-quality scoring opportunities. Kelsall regained the lead for the Panthers with a powerful shot past Greenfield at 28:10, assisted by Hugo Roy. However, the Steelers responded once again, as Saucerman’s shot deflected off the post and into the net to tie the game at 2-2 at 32:23. The period continued in a back-and-forth manner, with both teams showcasing their offensive prowess, resulting in an exhilarating spectacle for spectators.

Period 3 – Steelers Pull Ahead

The Steelers asserted their dominance early in the third period, with Mitchell Balmas converting a slick passing play from Patrick Watling to take the lead at 41:52. Despite the Panthers’ efforts to mount a comeback, including several scoring chances, particularly from Mcgurty and Pare, a lapse in defensive play allowed Josh Nicholls to extend the Steelers’ lead at 51:45. The Panthers struggled to counter the relentless pressure from the league leaders, ultimately conceding defeat with a final score of 4-2, despite a commendable performance overall. 

*Article provided by Joe Maciag (Ice Hockey Correspondent).

*Main image @PanthersIHC defeat to Sheffield for Nottingham Panthers.

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