On a bitterly cold Sunday evening, Ice Hockey fans filled the Motorpoint arena in Nottingham, both nervous of what to expect from two very equally matched teams.
There was a genuine and authentic buzz in the air as the Nottingham Panthers exploded into the area to a rapturous applause from the home crowd.
The opening exchanges were underwhelming as both teams struggled to maintain any long periods of possession, but after 10 minutes, Nottingham Panthers began to show their class, with a number of neat moves that provided a lot of near misses.
For every sustained period of pressure from the Panthers, the Sheffield Steelers would have exciting counter attacks, but they too could not capitalise in the first period.
The second period began with the Panthers dominating a lot of early possession but it was the Steelers who broke the deadlock with a speculative effort from Aaron Brocklehurst wearing the number 2 jersey. This first score woke up the away end with the Sheffield fans the louder.
However, it was the Panthers that would strike next and after more sustained pressure Dylan Malmquist smashed in his first professional goal on a re-direct from Jason DeSantis’ feed into the back of the net from close range.
The third and final period of play, was marred by poor refereeing from the officials, missing clear fouls and sending off the wrong players when the fouls were spotted. This did not interfere with Sheffield Steelers mindset however, as John Armstrong smashed a shot at the goal keeper, before knocking in the rebound. The Steelers led once again in the game.
Visibly distressed in going behind, the Nottingham players began to lash out, leading to more time in the bin for their players for the last 15.
With the pressure building, the Steelers were continually knocking at the door of the Panthers and in the final 3 minutes Jonathan Phillips made the points safe with an empty net goal with 51 seconds to go.
This game leaves Sheffield Steelers top of the table, with Nottingham Panthers in 6th.
Panthers’ next 3 home fixtures:
- Manchester Storm (Wednesday 4th December)
- Guilford Flames (Sunday 8th December)
- Dundee Stars (Saturday 21st December)
All fixtures are at the Motorpoint Arena.