Steelers v Panthers
5 - 3
The Nottingham Panthers
The Nottingham Panthers and Sheffield Steelers clashed for the second time in as many nights on Thursday after a 2-3 shootout win for the men from Yorkshire on Boxing Day.
Michael Garnett got the start in goal for the Panthers opposite Matt Climie, taking over from Jackson Whistle who picked up the win 24 hours ago, for the Steelers.
An even opening to the game saw both teams enjoy half chances but both netminders stood firm. Tim Billinglsey getting the best chance of a set face-off play but his effort from the blue line was gloved down by Climie.
In a role reversal from last night it was Sheffield who took the lead, Evan McGrath (6.45) taking advantage of a fortuitous bounce off the side of Michael Garnett's cage and beating the Panthers' netminder out in front. The Steelers drew a powerplay, Mark Hurtubise sent to the box for tripping (9.31), as they looked to double their lead but the Panthers' penalty killers blocked lanes and blocked shots as they killed the penalty and returned to full strength.
Using the momentum built from the penalty kill Nottingham tied the game. Alex Guptill forcing a turnover before dancing out of the corner and to the front of the net where he slide the puck under Climie (12.45) to make it 1-1.
The Panthers couldn't take advantage of a late period powerplay (15.29) and Michael Garnett came flying out to the top of his crease, to deny O'Connor, to send the game into the first intermission with the teams tied at one.
After a tentative start to the second period, with neither team wanting to make a mistake, the Panthers took the lead. Alex Bolduc (25.58) unleashing a wicked wrist shot to beat Climie up high from the left face-off circle.
Less than three minutes after taking the lead the Panthers face two minutes of five-on-three penalty kill time when Luke Pither and Dylan Olsen were sent to the box. John Armstrong saw nothing but twine when a cross-ice feed found him alone at the backdoor but Michael Garnett produced a save of the season contender, with his right pad, to repel the Sheffield forward's one-timer. Shortly after Nottingham returned to full strength the Steelers used the momentum they built on the five on-three to tie the game, John Armstrong, skating through the high slot, deflecting Robert Dowd's pass high into the Panthers' goal to tie the game at two.
The Panthers killed a slashing penalty to Marek Tvrdon to close out the period and it was all to play for in the third.
Just two minutes into the third period Alex Bolduc thought he'd given the Panthers the lead after deflecting Jaynen Rissling's shot from the blue line past Matt Climie. However, after a lengthy review, referee Tom Darnell ajudged the Panthers' forward to have made the slightest bit of contact with Climie and the goal was washed out.
Alex Guptill (50.05) did give the Panthers the lead when he one-timed Justin Kovacs cross ice feed into the back of the Steelers' net but it was a lead Nottingham would enjoy for only 40 seconds, Josh Pitt showing tremendous hands at the top of the crease to tie the game at three.
Under two minutes later Sheffield found themselves in the lead, Josh McFadden capitalising on a turnover in the neutral zone and firing a slapshot high over the glove of Garnett (52.02) to make it 4-3 in favour of the home side.
Sheffield increased their lead on the powerplay (54.23) when Evan McGrath tipped Josh Pitt's shot into the Panthers' goal to secure the two points for the Steelers.