Panthers 4 Steelers 2

It was a game that was billed as a must win for both sides, a Steelers win and the title race was well and truly on, a Panthers win and it was breathing space at the top. Hype wasn’t needed for this one, the league positions ensured another sell-out at the NIC and almost 7,000 fans awaited the battle.

When it comes to the crunch, Steelers will look back on the first period and say this is where they probably lost the game. They came out far more confident while Panthers looked nervous. The key to winning the game was the performance of Craig Kowalski and he didn’t disappoint with a string a superb saves to keep the Panthers in it and 0-0 at the end of the first. I don’t think any Panthers fan could have complained if the home side went into the first break two or three goals down while the Steelers fans would be left to rue those missed opportunities.

In the second the Steelers took a lead that their play to that point had deserved, Danny Meyers latching on to a defensive error and skating in alone to beat Kowalski. The home fans braced themselves for an onslaught and Simon Ferguson ‘scored’ with a shot that looked to hit the back bar and come straight back out from my vantage point high in block 13, as Ferguson wheeled away with arms aloft play continued, much to his disgust. I think we got away with one there!
Steelers indiscipline then started to turn the tide Panthers way. Chris Frank was lucky to stay in the game after a running cross-check to Matthew Myers face. Somehow referee Michael Hicks only saw fit to give him 2 penalty minutes for the offence with a further 2 for roughing! I’m not one for citing incidents but I hope the Panthers send the video in on this one.
11 seconds after the penalty expired Panthers equalised. A lovely passing move saw David Ling feed Bruce Graham who powered his shot past DeCaro into the back of the net, the first goal Steelers had conceded in 210 minutes of play.
It was 1-1 as the second period closed, however another dumb roughing penalty on Frank right at the end of the period would cost the Steelers dearly.

Panthers took the lead on the resulting powerplay, once again another great passing move saw Pat Galivan provide the finish from Ling’s feed. From there the Panthers didn’t look back, doing what they’ve done so many times this season, upping the intensity and simply destroying teams, when we play like that no-one can live with us.
With Drew Fata in the box for a blatant high stick on Jordan Fox, Panthers made it 3-1 with one of the best goals I’ve ever seen. Fox beat three Steelers players with superb stick handling before deking John DeCaro out of his shorts to slot the puck home. A quite fantastic goal that deserves to be replayed over and over again.
Just 22 seconds later it was 4-1 as Brandon Benedict scored from close in and it was game over as Steelers called a time out to steady the ship. Panthers hit their own penalty problems to give the Steelers their second lengthy 5 on 3 powerplay of the game, this time they took advantage with Steve Goertzen scoring to reduce the arrears. Despite the goal Steelers never looked like getting back in the game as Panthers closed the game out, however their cause was not helped when Fata jumped Fox and earned a 2+10 for his trouble, putting him out of the rest of the game.

All in all a great and important win for the Panthers. Many are already giving us the title and while we took a big stride towards it last night there’s still a lot of hockey to be played and two points in Braehead is essential tonight.
As for the Steelers, with a little more discipline they could still be well in the race, as it is they’ve got a mountain to climb.
Two horse race? I think so.

7 Responses to “Panthers 4 Steelers 2”

  1. 1 Rob Pacey February 23, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    “Simon Ferguson ‘scored’ with a shot that looked to hit the back bar and come straight back out from my vantage point high in block 13, as Ferguson wheeled away with arms aloft play continued, much to his disgust. I think we got away with one there!”

    Personally I didn’t think it went in (from block 4). But whether it did or not, the linesman was stood on the icing line and it was he who waved it off as no goal – he couldn’t have been better placed. Whether he was right or not is a different story… and we need to see a replay.

  2. 2 Phil Bradwell February 23, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    If understanding the conference system right, the winner of both conferences get the highest seeds for the playoffs and then the top 8 in the league go in to the playoffs. However if my maths are right, looking at points and games there is a chance breahead or dundee could finish top of their conference but finish 9 in the league. So what happens then? Any ideas?

    • 3 FV February 26, 2013 at 12:20 pm

      The playoff seeding is based on League Winner as #1; then conference winner(s) as #2 and #3 (if league winner doesn’t also win their conference), then the remaining teams in descending league order. So if the Gardiner conference winner comes 9th in the league, they take #2 or #3 seed, essentially meaning the 8th placed team will lose out on the playoffs.
      This scenario was confirmed by Chris Ellis of the Elite League today when I asked that exact question.

  3. 5 winkwilson February 24, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    thanks for keeping us informed on the PANTHER TEAM & performances! PROFESSOR WINK WILSON

  4. 7 Fred February 25, 2013 at 8:48 am

    The Steelers suffered from the same thing they usually suffer from – they are too busy trying to rough up the opposition (Decaro’s blatant sucker punch to the back of Myers’ head) and attempting to get penalties. If they stopped with the “dirty” play and started concentrating on the actual game, they would be a much more formidable team. I’d be interested to know if they are like that with other teams, or if it is just against us.

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