Nottingham Panthers 1 Sheffield Steelers 3: Losing run ends with win over bitter rivals
Sheffield Steelers consigned rivals Nottingham Panthers to their fourth-straight defeat on Saturday night.
Sheffield's clinical 3-1 road win brought an end their own three match series of losses, and it came despite serious injury absences.
Goalie Tomas Duba blocked a penalty shot in the third period to give Sheffield the security they needed to wrap up the Challenge Cup group game.
Steelers, without import defencemen Aaron Johnson, Jonas Liwing and Aaron Brocklehurst, had suffered a flu bug in the camp in the week running up to the game.
But they hit the ground running and had the tonic of two power plays in the first half of the opening period, Joshua Tetlow and Oliver Betteridge sitting out.
On the second PP, Steelers cashed in, Nikolai Lemtyugov roofing his second in two games, assisted by Michael Davies.
They were good value for the lead at the first break and did well after it to kill off a 55-second five-on-three penalty, with Jonathan Phillips and Ben O'Connor in the box.
Davies doubled Sheffield's lead and Aaron Fox's men then had to dig deep with Tanner Eberle and Anthony DeLuca sitting out minors.
Duba pulled off some well-timed saves to keep the visitors ahead and that provided the platform for Robert Dowd to cruise down the ice with the puck and rip it past Jackson Whistle with four seconds remaining of the middle section.
Samuel Herr and Jens Jakobs tried to initiate a fight-back, but Steelers patched-up rearguard held firm, as did Duba.
Making his debut for Sheffield was Marek Troncinský, who'd had time for just one training session with his new team, and he did his part in protecting the crease but then had to serve a boarding penalty at 47:13.
Sheffield killed it, however they conceded almost straight away, Oliver Betteridge, assisted by Herr.
At 3-1 down, Nottingham were awarded a penalty shot, but Duba comfortably blocked Brian Connelly in what was clearly a key-moment of the game.
With 34.8 seconds on the clock, Panthers called a Time Out, looking for a miracle.
It never arrived.
Now the two sides do it all again on Sunday at Sheffield Arena.