CC Semi Final 2nd leg – Panthers 3 Steelers 1 (Panthers win 7-3 on aggregate)

To think, I was a little nervous before this game, I needn’t have worried! Being two goals down from the first leg I expected the Steelers to come at us all guns blazing, instead they came at us with a barely audible whimper! The crowd was also a bit of a disappointment, I’d estimate between 4,500 – 5,000 with a pitiful turn out from Sheffield, it’s quite obvious they’ve stopped believing!
Prime example of the Steelers lack of gumption was the first period, although scoreless Panthers out shot the Steelers 16-11, and had some great chances to extend their lead, only kept at bay by the excellent Verner.
Into the second and Panthers superiority started to come through. We took the lead after intense pressure in the Steelers zone saw their defence pulled apart as the line of Mann, McAslan and Lachowicz kept recycling the puck,which eventually fell to Kevin Bergin, playing defence, right in front and he made no mistake. With the crucial first goal in our favour we went for more, Jade Galbraith thought he’d scored and the goal light went on, but ref Moray Hanson judged that the puck did not cross the line. To be honest it was the other end of the ice to where I sit so I couldn’t tell one way or another. No matter though, it was soon 2-0. Marty Gascon picking up the puck and placing a beautiful pass to Steelers fan favourite Bruce Richardson who buried the puck into a virtually empty net. The Steelers did show a brief sign of life shortly after, a scramble round the Panthers net saw Doug Sheppard bury the puck past KSP, but the muted celebrations already showed that the Steelers knew they were a well beaten team.
To be fair the visitors came into it more in the third period, out-shooting the Panthers and forcing KSP into a couple of awesome saves, but for some odd reason Dave Matsos decided to pull Verner with around 1.20 to go, the inevitable empty net goal was scored by Cameron Mann after Galbraith had hit the bar.
So, 3-1 on the night and 7-3 on aggregate, job very much done by the Panthers and we now face Cardiff Devils in the two legged final, and also virtually end the Steelers season, which was nice 😀

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