A Gordie Howe hattrick for Marco Vallerand tonight secured two points in our Boxing Day clash against the Nottingham Panthers. For those new to hockey, that’s a goal, an assist and a fight in the same match.
Longer term injured players Connolly and Saxrud-Danielsen were joined by Brust, Valdix and Sointu who have all entered Covid-19 protocols but there was a return the line-up for Vojtech Polak and Rok Stojanovic was backed up by Curtis Warburton.
The starting six announced as:
The Steelers dominated the first period and took a commanding three goal to nil lead into the 2nd period with goals from Marco Vallerand (7.00), Evan Mosey (11.22) and Tanner Eberle (15.13).
At 14.48, Kelsall laid a huge hit on Todd at the offensive zone boards and Vallerand stepped up to protect his teammate and although no clean punches were landed, Vallerand made his presence known. A goal and a fight towards the hattrick were completed.
The Panthers came back fighting in the second period and brought the game back to within one goal as Boivin (21.49) and Tousignant (33.07) gave the Panthers hope of picking up points.
A further dent was put in any Panthers ambitions when Tanner Eberle picked up his second of the night at 39.30 in which Vallerand picked up his assist to complete his hattrick. 4-2 Steelers.
To the Panthers credit, they came back again in the third period as Brassard once again made it a one goal game at 41.32 and a nail-biting affair ensued until the Panthers pulled Carr and Martin Latal latched onto a loose puck. Latal still had a lot of work to do but found the net from the tightest of angles to put the game to bed at 59.38.
Vallerand picked up the Man of the Match awards for his efforts tonight and literally pulled on reserve energy to win the Tug of War challenge in his Eddy.
With the Cardiff Devils game still playing at the time of writing, we currently hold an 8 point lead at the top of the table.
We now take on the Panthers tomorrow night in a return leg in Nottingham which is being shown by our friends over at Premier Sports before we return home next Sunday 2nd January against the Manchester Storm – See you there Sheffield.