Panthers v Steelers
The Nottingham Panthers
5 - 2
A sold-out crowd packed the Motorpoint Arena on Saturday night to see the biggest rivals in British ice hockey face-off
Michael Garnett started in goal for The Nottingham Panthers, who welcomed back Tommy Hughes and Dylan Olsen (who passed a late fitness test) back to the line-up, opposite Jackson Whistle for the Sheffield Steelers.
Nottingham killed an early penalty after they were caught with too many men on the ice at 2.20, Jaynen Rissling going close after the Panthers returned to full strength as he dazzled the Sheffield defence with some silky skills before being denied by Whistle.
When Jonas Westerling was called for a delay-of-game penalty at 7.47 the Panthers went on their first powerplay of the game, Tyler Biggs whistling one past the post on the short-side, but they could not find a way past the Sheffield netminder.
Steve Lee had his stick slashed out his hands in the defensive zone at 13.34 and on the resulting powerplay Kevin Henderson kept digging away at a loose puck in the crease, forcing it over the line to give The Nottingham Panthers a 1-0 lead.
The Steelers pushed back in search of equaliser as they forced Garnett into a flashy glove save at 17.53 when they broke in two-on-one.
Nottinngham began the second period with 0.52 remaining after the Steelers were called for hooking late in the first but couldn't find a way to double their advantage with the extra man.
However, at 23.19, Tommy Hughes made no mistake when he was found by Luke Pither pinching down from the blueline and the defenceman buried the puck past Jackson Whistle in the Steelers goal to give the Panthers a 2-0 lead.
Sheffield pressed hard for a goal to bring themselves back into the game but could not find a clear route to Michael Garnett's cage, the Panthers defence keeping the attackers to the perimeter.
After Garnett was forced into a glove save at 28.24 Rich Chernomaz used his time-out to re-focus his troops for the rest of the period.
Both sides had powerplay opportunities in the second half of the period but neither netminder could be beaten and the Panthers went into the third period with a 2-0 lead.
Sheffield took advantage of an early third period powerplay at 41.53 to halve the Panthers lead but Nottingham responded just 19 seconds later, Alex Guptill firing the puck into a half empty cage to restore the two goal cushion for the home side.
Things got even better at 48.36 when Tyler Biggs fired home from Lachowicz's feed when the two of them broke in two-on-one to make it 4-1.
The Steelers pulled a goal back at 54.53 but there was to be no comeback for the Yorkshire side as Dylan Olsen sprang Alex Guptill on a late period powerplay and the forward made no mistake as he slid the puck through the five-hole of Jackson Whistle for a 5-2 lead and a resounding win for The Nottingham Panthers.