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Comeback Not Quite Complete – Steelers 4 – 5 (OT) Panthers

Comeback Not Quite Complete – Steelers 4 – 5 (OT) Panthers

On a cold and windy night in Sheffield, the Steelers were back at the Utilita Sheffield Arena to take on the Nottingham Panthers in our final Challenge Cup Group C game. Although our place at the top of Group C was already cemented, victory tonight would have given us a top seed overall and a game against Coventry Blaze. However, it was not to be and a loss in overtime means we ended with the second seed and a next stage game against the Fife Flyers.

Team news wasn’t great as expected with Tanner Eberle, Brendan Connolly and Marco Vallerand out with injury who were joined with Keaton Ellerby and Anthony DeLuca through suspension. Leeds kept hold of Brandon Whistle and Cole Shudra was also still recovering from a shoulder injury meaning we skated with 9 forwards and 5 defencemen.

In the netminder department Curtis Waburton was called up to back up Rok Stojanovic.

The starting six for tonight was announced as:

06:22 – Steelers were first on the board with Alex Graham’s first of his two goals after Jonathan Philips went hard to the net and the puck broke out in front and Alex was in the right place to shoot the puck home. The goal being awarded after a trip to Toronto to confirm no goaltender interference. Jonathan Philips and Daine Todd picking up the assists. 1-0

11:23 – The Panthers brought the game level through Jeremy Welsh. The original shot from the point was by Christophe Boivin which deflected off a skate and came back to Welsh who shot into an empty net with Stojanovic out of position. 1-1

12:17 – It was a quickfire two goals for the Panthers which put them ahead of the game through Simon Suoranta at the backdoor following a pass from Aaron Thow. 1-2

13:20 – With Tousignant getting under the skin of a few Steelers players, Adrian Saxrud-Danielsen was the man to step up and drop the gloves and win the fight to get the crowd going.

15:36 – The Panthers went ahead by two with 3 goals in only 4 minutes and 13 seconds as J C Brassard found the back of the net with Simon Suoranta picking up the assist. 1-3

Nothing much to write home about in the second period as it was limited to a Nottingham tripping penalty that was killed off and the Panthers continued with the two goal lead into the third period.

At the half way mark both teams had a change of netminder with Warburton replacing Stojanovic for the Steelers and Kerlin replacing Carr for the Panthers.

42:27 – The Steelers were back within one via Alex Graham’s second goal of the night as he found himself at the blue line and put a quick wrist shot in on Kerlin which beat him low. Goal assisted by Jonathan Philips and Andreas Valdix. 2-3

44:42 – Unfortunately the boys couldn’t keep the Panthers at bay and they had their two goal lead reinstated after Jordan Kelsall found the back of the net, assisted by Christophe Boivin and Joshua Tetlow.

The Steelers have made a habbit of comebacks this season, and it looked like it was going to be no different tonight as they brought the game level in a frantic 44 seconds of play.

57:08 – A shorthanded goal it was for the Steelers as they broke two on one and Martin Latal played a lovely early one-two with Kevin Schulze who returned it to Latal and he finished five-hole on Kerlin. 3-4

57:51 – The comeback was nearly complete when Matis Sointu brought the game level after he was found at the backpost by Martin Latal and went over Kerlin’s pads. 4-4

With nothing to separate the teams we headed into 3 on 3 overtime and it was Sointu who put the puck out of play to put the Panthers on a powerplay and they took full advantage at 62:06 when Christophe Boivin was found in the slot and finished five-hole on Warburton.

Two points for the Panthers and a well-earned battling point for the Steelers which brought to an end the group stages of the Challenge Cup.

Alex Graham picked up the Man of the Match for the Steelers for his two goal effort.

We are back in action tomorrow night, League action against the Guildford Flames. No stream available so join us on Social Media to follow the game live.

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