Final score: Sheffield Steelers 3-1 Nottingham Panthers

Jackson Whistle repels an invader, pic by Hayley Roberts
Jackson Whistle repels an invader, pic by Hayley Roberts

There was little to chose between the two as Sheffield Steelers and Nottingham Panthers locked horns in the opening stages this evening.

But Steelers dominated the middle period and deserved the points, as they continued to show they can perform well against their nearest rivals.

Steelers v Panthers pic by Hayley Roberts

Steelers v Panthers pic by Hayley Roberts

Tom Barrasso's team moved into seventh position.

Both sides were attack-minded, yet it was a goalless first period.

Netminder Jackson Whistle, again, was Steelers' best player of the early part, he had a number of close-in efforts to deal with.

The best of which came after an exquisite pass from Chris Stewart set up Justin Kovacs on the edge of the crease.

Jackson Whistle v Nottingham

Jackson Whistle v Nottingham

Brett Perlini was unlucky with two chances on one shift.

At the other end, Anthony DeLuca foraged hard to create chances for himself and others and Tanner Eberle blazed high and wide from a good position.

Back in the line-up was fit-again Josh McFadden, who scored a memorable winner against Panthers in their last meeting, on December 27 and had missed the last nine outings.

But it was 0-0 at the first interval.

The stalemate ended with a nifty Steelers counter attack, Jonathan Phillips scoring from close range, at 21;56.

The puck seemed to go in off the captain's feet, but the goal stood.

Panthers then hit the back of the net - but the officials missed it, played continue until an attack of conscience came over them.

A belated video review proved Alexandre Bolduc had scored and it was 1-1.

It was a busy time for the officials.

They washed out a 'goal' from' Jonas Westerling for goalie interference, awarded a Josh Pitt go-ahead goal, and then Evan McGrath poked home a puck, but that was also ruled out, so the score remained 2-1 in favour of the Sheffield Arena club.

Dylan Richard, after a Steelers' turnover, had the chance of equalising but Whistle denied him.

Panthers had been subdued by Steelers - they needed to come out firing in the last session.

That they did - but they came up against a well-drilled defensive formation and some excellent goaltending from Whistle - he had Kovacs and Perlini shaking their heads.

The evening was completed in the last second, when Tanner Eberle scored an empty netter.