Cup holders Nottingham bow out of this year’s competition

The GMB Nottingham Panthers were beaten in the second leg of the Challenge Cup semi-final in Sheffield last night and bowed out of the competition although the score didn’t fully reflect the way the game went.

Steelers won the second leg 3-0 for a 5-1 win on aggregate.

Sheffield showed what a good team they can be and with both goalies making a string of fine saves the only goal of the first period on a delayed penalty call against Nottingham.

Panthers already missing MacMillan, Dimmen, and Williams through injury lost Jeff Brown to a match penalty half-way through the second period which carries an automatic one match suspension and will also be reviewed by the league.

A brilliant kill saw off the five minute ensuing Steelers powerplay and it was still a one goal game going into the final period.

Panthers had a string of shots in the final period and were pushing for an equaliser on the night when the drama was pumped even further when the Nottingham coaches pulled Miika Wiikman with 53 seconds to go six skaters against four on a late powerplay with four minutes left in the game.

Three close-range efforts were kept out by shut-out bound Mustukovs and Sheffield got their man back from the penalty box but Panthers kept Miika Wiikman on the bench.

Stephen Schultz deeked the home keeper and fired round him only to hit the post and when Sheffield cleared the puck down the ice Panthers won the race to regain control but a giveaway presented a gift of an empty-goal with a full two minutes left on the clock. It was game over and as Panthers watched the clock run down Sheffield bagged another goal with thirty seconds left but by then Panthers grip on the Challenge Cup trophy had already slipped through their fingers.

Pics: Dean Wooley

3 - 0
Shots on Goal
27
Shots on Goal
33
Goals by Period
1,0,2
Goals by Period
0,0,0
Powerplays
0/3
Powerplays
0/3