VIDEO: Nottingham Panther attacks Sheffield Steeler

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NOTTINGHAM Panthers player Kelsey Wilson has been banned for three matches after a violent off-the-play attack on Sheffield Steeler star Simon Ferguson last night, writes Bob Westerdale.

VIDEO: Press the play button to see the vicious attack.

Steelers flashpoint: Simon Ferguson, attacked on the ice  by Kelsey Wilson.'         Picture: dean woolley

Steelers flashpoint: Simon Ferguson, attacked on the ice by Kelsey Wilson.' Picture: dean woolley

Ferguson was skating back to the bench after his team had gone 2-1 up. They went on to win 9-4.

Kelsey smashed his stick directly into Ferguson’s solar plexus. Ferguson slumped to the ice, tried to get up to fight Kelsey, but collapsed again.

Kelsey, a Canadian wing, was ejected for slashing, despite his laughable gestures of innocence.

Kelsey lashed out in a cowardly way, catching his target completely unaware. That level of thuggishness deserves a few games on the sidelines, although Ferguson recovered.

The player has now been banned for three matches following a supplementary discipline review by the League disciplinary committee.

It didn’t tarnish an incredible night of achievement for Steelers, hammering the league’s best team.

Sheffield had got off to a tentative start and a series of giveaways - two from Shawn Limpright - threatened to put the visitors in charge but John DeCaro stood tall.

Panthers were assertive offensively, but less so defensively.

They were passive on the blue line at 8:10 when Chris Frank scored from Ferguson.

It took David Clarke just 75 seconds to equalise, his shot deflecting off DeCaro’s left forearm and trickling over.

Ashley Tait had a goal disallowed at 10:44, but he wasn’t to be denied. Five minutes later he made it 2-1, Ferguson again involved, which might be why he ended up in agony, centre ice, thanks to the inexplicable brutality.

Two minutes later, Notts paid a bigger penalty, Tylor Michel ending a nine-game drout with a goal.

Two goals in 18 seconds after the break, from Drew Fata and Tait built an astonishing 5-1 lead. And while Pat Galivan got one back, Sheffield continued to dominate.

On a penalty kill, Tait had to chances to score. He didn’t but waited until 35:22 to stake his hat-trick.

Matt Francis scored for Notts, but Rod Sarich made it 7-3 to send most of the 8,122 fans into rapture.

All Steelers had to do was match Panthers’ final session intensity: they did with more besides.

Michel scored his second and Jonathan Phillips scored his first goal in 11 games.

Galivan wrapped up the scoring for Notts.