Nottingham Panthers 2 Sheffield Steelers 3: New Year celebrations kicked off in style with win over bitter rivals
Sheffield Steelers brought an end to the decade with a vibrant 3-2 victory at Nottingham.
They had to come from behind, but wrestled control of the game and held out despite a late Panthers' bombardment.
With two wins at the National Ice Centre under their belt already this year, Steelers went into the New Year Eve's match with a confident attitude.
Yet Panthers, seeking their fifth straight win, forced the early pressure and Marek Torncinski, having surrendered possession in his own zone had to then block a shot.
Jacob Hansen tested Tomas Duba but the clearest opening was crafted by Nottingham's top point scorer Samuel Herr, who burst down the left flank and unleashed a strong shot on to Sheffield's crossbar at 7:29.
Duba and an Aaron Brocklehurst block kept the scoresheet blank.
Steelers, who had Marco Vallerand and John Armstrong back from injury, were hemmed in by Tim Wallace's team until Lucas Sandstrom cruised through the middle to put a shot on Notts' goal at 12:08 and Nikolai Lemtyugov fired over a minute later.
Vallerand's retaliation, roughing penalty meant Steelers had to kill the first power play of the evening.
Steelers were fortunate to go into the first interval at 0-0, but the middle section was just four minutes old when Panther Georgs Golovkovs tipped in Adam Deutsch's shot from the blue line.
Janne Kolehmainen, though, levelled the game with his first strike in his time with Steelers - he couldn't have picked a better time to get off the mark. It was assisted at 28:47 by Aaron Brocklehurst, Michael Davies.
Panthers then paid the price for a big miss.
Robert Lachowicz should have put the home side ahead, much to the delight of the majority of the 7,013 fans. But seconds later Sheffield swarmed up the ice and Michael Davies potted past Kevin Carr from close range.
A stick in Brendan Connolly's face from Golovkovs led to a Steelers' power play which Steelers were inches away from converting.
And Carr foiled Tanner Eberle on on a two-one-one break.
But Jonathan Phillips' precise forehand drive between the circles made it 3-1 at 49:10.
These 'derbies' are never over until they're over.
And at 55:03 on-form ex Steeler Mark Matheson made it 2-3.
With 94 seconds left Wallace called a time out.
Carr was pulled from goal..but Nottingham could not break down Steelers' defences.
Top of the League Sheffield now have eight wins and one (Cup) draw in their last nine games