Steelers 4 Panthers 3 (After Penalty Shots)

I didn’t want to go to this but I already had a ticket. After a hard game in Belfast last night I didn’t hold out much hope, but along I went and I’m so glad I did. It was one of those games where I was proud to wear the shirt, and the players skated to a standstill for the cause. A decent crowd in the Arena as well, the woodwork in Sheffield must have been very empty for a few hours!

The first was pretty even with both teams having chances, but Panthers took the lead when Jade Galbraith kept up his excellent recent goal scoring record by shoving the puck through Jody Lehman’s gaping five-hole. The lead was short lived as Joey Talbot beat Michel Robinson for the equaliser. Things got worse for the Panthers after Matt Myers was carried off with what is suspected to be a twisted knee and could see the influential Brit out for a few games. The first period was also notable for how many Steelers players ran away from fights, and to think they call us pussies! First Galbraith dropped the gloves to go with Jason Hewitt, who had managed to get to the safety of his bench. Second, Robert Dowd jumped Dan Tessier and dragged him to the ice, the result was 5 minutes each for fighting from the hapless Moray Hanson! Surely Dowd should have got the extra instigator penalty?

Into the second period and Kevin Bergin and Steve Munn dropped the gloves. While Munn got a couple of early punches in it was hilarious watching him hold on to both Bergin’s arms for dear life to prevent being given a sound beating! Worse was then to follow on the injury front, already down David Clarke, Danny Meyers and now Matt Myers, Dan Tessier went down after being kneed by Scott Basiuk. While being carried off the ice, the Sheffield fans treated him to a loud chorus of boos, still I don’t expect anything better from the self proclaimed ‘best fans in the league’, best fans my arse! Despite now being down to just seven forwards, Panthers took the lead on the powerplay with a beautifully worked goal, Corey Neilson faked to shoot but laid off the puck to Galbraith who smashed the puck in from the angle. Yet again the lead was short lived and the defence went AWOL for a couple of minutes,which saw the 2-1 lead become a 3-2 deficit after goals by Ryan Finnerty and Jeff Legue. Panthers held on for the remainder of the period, which finished early due to a piece of broken plexiglass.

Talking to other Panthers fans in the break, the opinion was that the third would be a case of damage limitation due to the length of the bench, how wrong we were. The Panthers came out and dominated the third, forcing the Steelers into elementary mistakes one of which was Rod Sarich turning the puck over to Bruce Richardson who sent Brendan Cook clear to beat Lehman for a short handed equaliser. Panthers should have won the game when Bergin was all alone in front of the net but put his shot agonisingly wide.

Overtime failed to separate the sides so it was on to a penalty shoot out. It took nine rounds of penalties before Robert Dowd  secured the extra point to trigger the usual Stanley Cup-esque celebrations from the assembled glory hunters (It will be interesting to see how many bother to turn up for their game against Newcastle tonight. My guess is not many!) Jade Galbraith took the man of the match award for the Panthers, who left the ice to a deserved standing ovation from the travelling support. Some Steelers fans managed to show their complete lack of class once again by chanting ‘We are number one’ as the Panthers took their lap of honour. Some things never change I guess!

Such a brave and gutsy performance has probably come at a cost with the injuries to Tessier and Myers, and they will probably hurt us in upcoming fixtures. With the final fixture of the series on March 7th at the NIC, Panthers need to send a message to the Steelers and seek some retribution for last night. I’m expecting a bloodbath!

Highlights from last nights game can be found on Steelers TV and Mick Holland’s spot on match report can be found here.


2 Responses to “Steelers 4 Panthers 3 (After Penalty Shots)”

  1. 1 John February 15, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    Pmsl these reports are a joke.

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