Steelers v Panthers
4 - 3
The Nottingham Panthers
THE NOTTINGHAM Panthers clashed with the Sheffield Steelers in Challenge Cup action, for the second time in less than 24 hours, on Sunday evening.
Kevin Carr got the start between the pipes for the Panthers opposite Tomas Duba for the Steelers.
Carr made the games first save after just 18 seconds before Jason DeSantis had to be alert to break up a Steeler’s two-on-one opportunity as the home side pressed for an early goal.
Nottingham went to their first powerplay when Brian Connelly was hooked in the defensive zone (5.30) and the Panthers took the lead through DeSantis (6.47). The experienced defenceman firing a one-timer, on Connelly’s picture-perfect feed, into the back of the Sheffield goal.
Carr kept the Panthers in the lead when he extended his left pad to make a miraculous toe-save to deny a wide-open Nikolai Lemtyugov.
Dylan Malmquist delivered a big open-ice hit just prior to the visitors going onto their first penalty kill of the game (15.51) after an unfortunate bounce off of an official led to a tripping call.
Sheffield had a golden opportunity tie the game when they were granted a five-on-three powerplay opportunity (16.35) but the Panthers’ penalty kill unit stood firm, Carr flashing the leather through heavy traffic to preserve Nottingham’s lead just as they returned to full strength and ended the period one goal to the good.
Brian Connelly (22.52) scored his first goal as a Nottingham Panther when his one-timer beat Duba to make it a two goal lead for the visitors.
Both sides exchanged powerplay opportunities without success, Robert Lachowicz making a great defensive play to take the puck off of a wide-open Robert Dowd, before the Steelers made it a one goal game. Cole Shudra’s (33.12) shot through a screen hitting the back of the net.
Sheffield killed a Panthers’ powerplay to close out the second period and the period ended like the first, with the visitors holding a one goal lead.
Jordan Kelsall (43.12) scored his first of the season, on the wraparound with a Steeler draped all over him, to restore the Panthers’ two goal lead early in the third period.
Kevin Carr flexed out his pad to keep the lead and then Ollie Betteridge, with the Panthers short-handed, threw himself in front of a shot from the blue line to stop the puck reaching his netminder.
Nottingham had a chance to ice the game when Brendan Connolly (54.24) was sent to the penalty box but a turnover on the blue line allowed John Armstrong (55.20) to skate in alone on Carr and make it a one goal game once again.
On a late period powerplay the Steelers pulled Duba in favour of the extra attacker and Armstrong (58.48) got his second of the night to send the game to overtime.
The period of three-on-three couldn’t decide a winner and the game went to penalty shots. Nottingham couldn’t beat Duba whilst the Steelers converted two to take the two Challenge Cup points.
Photo credit: Andy Burnham