GMB Panthers’ fight back in Sheffield falls just short

A spirited display from the GMB Nottingham Panthers saw them fight back from 3-0 down to lose 4-2 including an empty-net goal in a game that included a pivotal call from the referee after just four minutes.

The game had an explosive start when Walker and Jeff Brown dropped the gloves in the first two minutes for a good scrap that saw the pair pick up five minute fighting penalties.

Panthers, already missing Dimmen, Williams and MacMillan through injury, then lost Alex Nikiforuk when he was controversially given a five and Game penalty for boarding during a penalty kill after the referee consulted his linesmen. Ironically the ‘injured’ player took his place in the resulting powerplay but Panthers’ defence held firm and it was a goalless first period.

The first ten minutes of the second period proved crucial as the home side established a three goal lead. Panthers steadied the ship for the remainder of the period.

Henry Pacl took over in goal for Nottingham at the start of the third period and at the other end of the ice Robert Lachowicz fired home off the left wing and as the visitors piled on the pressure hustle and bustle saw David Clarke slot home low into the bottom corner to reduice the deficit further with 16-and-a-half minutes left.

More chances went Nottingham’s way, Pacl denied Steelers on a breakaway one-on-one and in the 56th minute Deivids Sarkanis hit the post for Panthers.

With Pacl pulled in the last two minutes for an extra skater the Steelers net was under siege but a long lobbed clearance found its way into the empty-net with 21 seconds to go to wrap up the scoring.

Pics Dean Woolley

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