Sheffield Steelers are through to tomorrow’s play off final after a 3-2 win over Braehead tonight.
They will play the league champions Belfast Giants tomorrow (4.15pm.)
Sheffield had to come from behind in a nerve-jangling match which pitted old friends and now rival coaches Gerad Adams and Ryan Finnerty against each other.
Neil Trimm beat Frank Doyle to a puck to give the Scots the lead in a bruising and eventful early session.
But three minutes later Nate DiCasmirro ended his barren spell in front of goal with an equaliser (PP; 9;08.)
Tim Spencer and Chris Frank were both ejected after a punch-up behind Steelers goal (15;42) - a bizarre and unnecessary call from referee Darnell.
But Sheffield began to dominate and deserved Dustin Kohn’s go-ahead goal on 16;17.
The period was physical, error-strewn - and compulsive viewing at Nottingham’s NIC Arena, where many of the crowd were predictably hostile.
Clan went after Steelers with added vigour in the middle period, although they failed to capitalise on a one minute 5-on-3 Power Play.
With Gord Baldwin taking two consecutive and similar boarding calls, Clan equalised on the last one, a superb wrist shot from Ash Goldie.
After 40 minutes, this was anybody’s game.
Both sides had chances to finish it, but that honour went to Steelers’ wing Rob Dowd, who executed from a Nate DiCasmirro pass at 43;18.
Doyle closed the door for the remaining 17 minutes- signalling a party atmosphere from the orange-decked supporters above the Sheffield bench.
Afterwards, coach Adams said eithe side could have staked a claim that they deserved to win.
He criticised the ejections of Spencer and Frank and of tomorrow’s final said: “anything can happen.”
Period Scores: 2-1, 0-1, 1-0
Penalty Mins: She 35+8+2=45, Bra 37+0+2=39
Powerplay: She 1/3, Bra 1/6
Shots On: Frank Doyle 10+15+8=33, Kyle Jones 17+6+10=33
Referee: Tom Darnell
*Belfast Giants, who won the league title by 23 points, sneaked into the final with a 1-0 win over gallant Fife Flyers earlier this afternoon.
In a pulsating finish, Giants goalie Stephen Murphy and his defence had to withstand a last minute storm.
But a third period goal at Nottingham NIC Arena, from Canadian winger Kevin Saurette, following approach work from Evan Cheverie, was enough to win the tie.
Giants outshot the Scots 33-24. Flyers hit the bar in the second period.
Belfast coach Paul Adey said he had no preference who they played in the final.
“We have played good hockey against both teams whoever we get know it is going to be tough.”
Fife boss Todd Dutiuame said he was proud of his players: “They played a hell of a game against the best team in the league.”