Panthers 2 Stingrays 3

Oh well, that looks like it for yet another year and once again our inability to beat teams we really should be thrashing comes back to bite us on the ass. Unfortunately Sheffield now looked nailed on for the title, still at least it will bring a few more pennies to the Steelers as the blue seats get filled by a few glory hunters!

Although the first period was comfortable, there were indications that things could get bad as the defence seemed to go AWOL at times, with coach Corey Neilson being the biggest culprit all night, I think it’s fair to say that he had a shocker! Jade Galbraith nearly opened the scoring with some fabulous stickwork, only to miss with the net at his mercy. His visible anguish nearly made him miss the puck as it came back to him! Matt Myers scored the first, putting in his own rebound off the defenceman tracking back. Juri Golicic made it 2-0 with a neat wrap-around finish and at the end of the first it was almost a carbon copy of the previous night’s game in Basingstoke. How wrong I was!

The second was a disaster. Panthers unfortunately reverted to complacency, as has been witnessed in other games this season, and unlike last night against the Bison, Stingrays were allowed back into the game with defensive lapses allowing first Kalimikov and then James Cooke to pull Hull level. The thirdwasn’t much better, Panthers huffed and puffed but didn’t really create any clear cut chances. With less than two minutes remaining, Michel Robinson went behind his net but lost the puck. Referee Michael Hicks whistled the play down as Robinson was ajudged to have thrown his stick at the puck and a penalty shot was given. I was at the back of Block 13, so too far from the incident to make a certain call, but I didn’t think he threw his stick but someone nearer maybe able to clarify. Kalmikov dispatched the penalty shot and that, as they say, was that.

Firstly, credit to Hull, to come here after being beaten at home by the Steelers and win shows some real balls. In Jeff Glowa they have a genuine leader and in Konstantin Kalmikov they have a quality player. They deserved to win through sheer hard work.

Secondly, it now seems our title dreams are over, only a miracle will see us lift our holy grail now but what makes it worse is that the likely winners are going to be that lot up the road!

Thirdly, and on a positive note, we have maintained a challenge beyond Christmas. Neilson is a rookie, but this season has shown promise, he’s created a team that can challenge. I hope that Mr Black gives him the chance to challenge again and learn from his mistakes.

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