It was a penalty shot victory on Sunday afternoon to secure a four-point weekend for the Sheffield Steelers over the Nottingham Panthers in challenge cup action.
Tomas Duba began the game in goal coming off the back of a solid display in Nottingham the night before and defenceman Marek Troncinsky suited up for his home debut.
At 06:47 Nottingham took the lead through Jason Desantis following good pressure in the Steelers zone.
This woke the Steelers up and they began to turn the tables, forcing Carr into a handful of saves.
Opportunities fell to Lemtyugov, Vallerand and Dowd, but it remained one-nil to the Panthers heading into the first period break.
22:52 and it was 2-0 to the visitors with Brian Connelly finding a way past Tomas Duba in the Steelers goal.
Robert Dowd was called for tripping moments later and pressure again began to mount on Duba, but the penalty kill remained resolute.
The penalty kill seemed to help the Steelers steady the game down and re-take control of the play and despite many chances falling the way of the Steelers go-to-guys, they failed to connect.
Sheffield finally got the breakthrough their play deserved. Cole Shudra took the puck at the blue line and fired a shot through a screen and past Carr (33:12).
It was a confident end to the period for the Steelers who continued to create chances but Carr remained solid behind a hard-working Panthers outfit.
A key message for the Steelers would be to keep things going into the third period how they finished the secong and this sentiment was clearly shared amognst the Steelers lockerroom.
However, it wasn’t the ideal way to begin, going 3-1 down (43:21) thanks to Jordan Kelsall who wrapped the puck around Duba’s goal and into the net.
This added breathing room for the visitors, didn’t seem to faze Aaron Fox’s team and the rallying call was made.
Steelers pushed and pushed but couldn’t find a way past Carr in goal and with Connolly in the box for hooking at 54:24 the task becam that much harder.
Big games require big players and none better than Big John Armstrong.
Shorthanded, on the penalty kill, Big John broke up play in the defensive zone, took the outside lane on the Nottingham defenceman and roofed the puck over Carr’s shoulder. (55:20)
Penalty killed and momentum had now swung full in the Steelers favour. Every shift injected energy into a 7,000 crowd in the FlyDSA arena and when Duba was pulled for the extra-attacker, Steelers set up camp in Panthers territory.
It was to be that man again who took the game to the wire. John Armstrong was at the right place to fire past Carr once again and the arena erupted.
Game tied at 58:48.
Into overtime we went, but neither side managed to end the game 3on3.
So it was to be penalty shots. Nottingham shot first and Tomas Duba stood tall to deny Hazeldine, Steelers replied by sending out Michael Davies but he could only hit the bar.
Duba would not be beaten by any of the four Panthers skaters, stopping them all in fine fashion.
There was a french connection in the Steelers offence with both Anthony DeLuca and Marco Vallerand scoring similar looking penalty shots to end the game.
Final score: Steelers 4 – 3 Panthers (After penalty shots)