Steelers v Panthers
8 - 4
The Nottingham Panthers
Sheffield Steelers blew away The Nottingham Panthers in a third period to forget for the visitors to take victory in the Challenge Cup on Saturday night in Sheffield.
Kevin Carr got the start in goal for the Panthers, who were without Brett Bulmer (suspension) and Danny Fick (lower body), opposite Pavel Kantor for the Steelers.
Nottingham went to an early powerplay (5.04) and just advantage with the extra man when Mark Matheson (7.04) rifled home a one-timer, after Jason DeSantis (making his Panthers' debut) laid the puck on a plate for him at the top of the right wing face-off circle, just as the Steelers' penalty was set to expire.
The home side had a quick chance to respond when they received a powerplay opportunity (7.25) but it was the Panthers who struck short-handed, Alexis Loiseau (8.28) on hand to tuck a rebound past Kantor following Brian Connelly's speculative long range effort.
Sheffield went to a five-on-three powerplay but the Panthers stood firm to kill both penalties before Jordan Kelsall threw himself in front of a slapshot in the slot to stop the puck getting through to Carr.
With the Panthers once again short-handed Sam Herr (13.54), benefiting from great hustle by Robert Lachowicz, showed tremendous patience to round Kantor and slide the puck into the back of the Steelers' net to make it a 0-3 scoreline after 20 minutes of play.
Sheffield killed an early period five-on-three chance for the Panthers and then pulled a goal back on a powerplay of their own, Michael Davies scoring at the backdoor (27.14).
Just over a minute later the home side found themselves back on the man advantage and once again (28.18) they made it count through Robert Dowd (32.04), who fired a one-timer past Carr's desperate dive.
The home side weren't done there, Eric Meland (36.48) found himself one-on-one with Carr after a defensive mistake and his shot hit the back of the net to send the teams into the second intermission all tied up at three goals apiece.
A late second period powerplay that ran into the third bore no fruit for the Panthers but Sam Herr (41.53) found the puck after a crazy bounce off the glass and tucked it by Kantor to put the visitors back into the lead.
Nottingham then killed an almost two minute period of five-on-three penalty kill but a turnover in the defensive zone allowed Martin St. Pierre to tie the game at four (48.30).
Sheffield then took their first lead of the night just over two minutes later, Aaron Johnson (50.43) shooting through a screen and past Carr.
Things then went bad to worse for the Panthers as the Steelers ran rampant. Tanner Eberle (51.08) beat Carr over the glove after he broke in down the right wing then John Armstrong (55.31) found himself all alone in the left face-off circle and his slapshot found nothing but twine to give the hosts a 7-4 lead.
James Bettauer put the icing on the cake for the Steelers when he added an eighth (56.16) and the home side took the two Challenge Cup points on offer.
Photo credit: Andy Burnham