Panthers v Steelers Preview

The biggest rivalry in Middle Earth sees the second league meeting of the season and the first in Nottingham this Saturday in front of what is likely to be a sell out crowd. Both teams have been having a pretty poor time of it lately, but the Panthers are still top of the Elite league while the Steelers are languishing in seventh place. The form of both teams since the last meeting at Sheffield Arena on 26th September is as follows (both have played 12 games):

Panthers: WWWWLLWLWLWL – Goals for 40; Goals against 39

Steelers: LLWLWWWLLLWL – Goals for 39; Goals against 41

Goals for and against are pretty much identical, however the win/loss column is a little different with Panthers having a 7/5 record compared to the Steelers 5/7.
The concensus of opinion on Steeltalk is that the Panthers are going to romp to victory, but we all know that the Steelers raise their game for these encounters. Panthers will hopefully have new signing Mario Larocque in the line up so you would expect the players to be fired up as they are now playing for their jobs. Personally I think netminding will decide the game, it will come down to how KSP and Andrew Verner perform on the night.
If it becomes a physical contest then the Panthers should win hands down. Steelers only physical threat is Brad Cruikshank and Larocque, Kevin Bergin and Dominic D’Amour will not lose any sleep over facing him in a showdown. No doubt Steelers fans will clamour for Jason Hewitt to face Bruce Richardson, but why should we lose the teams heartbeat for five minutes when the trade off is a well below average Brit? If the game is safe then by all means give Hewitt a beating, but not before.

Overall it will probably be a close game, no predictions from me but only a Panthers win will do.

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