Challenge Cup Semi-Final Preview

Wednesday will see the Steelers host the Panthers in the first leg of their Challenge Cup Semi-Final, with Cardiff Devils awaiting the overall winners in the final. Go back to last weekend, Panthers had just destroyed the Steelers once again and even the most rabid Steelers fan wouldn’t have  given them a hope. Just a week later and the Steelers have some hope and the Panthers are a little nervous!
Steelers new found vigour has come in the shape of Mike Sgroi, 6 feet and 5 inches of toughness, something they’ve desperately lacked all season. His debut on Friday saw him score the winner just 11 seconds from time, and the Steelers hope that he could be a potential match winner, however a promised new signing hasn’t come off for them.
The Panthers meanwhile have gone from the heights of euphoria to the depths of despair in just seven days. After a fabulous winning weekend beating Steelers and the Blaze to go top of the league, all the hard work was undone with two defeats in Belfast this past weekend. Once again it looks like the Nottingham Panthers are being beaten by the Nottingham Panthers! The good news for the Panthers is that new signing Jay Henderson will make his debut, a player I’m very much looking forward to see play after he was described to a friend by Bruce Richardson as “Like me, but good”!
If you look at the whole season then you have to say that this should be a Panthers victory over two legs, we lead the league series 5-0 and have looked a different class to them all season long, after all the league table doesn’t lie. In the league series the Panthers have out-scored the Steelers 23-11, so even if the Steelers do win, they’d have to look at going to Nottingham with a three goal plus lead to be comfortable. However, this is the cup and league form goes out the window, I guess we’ll see how much or how little on Wednesday night.

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