Nottingham Panthers 5 Sheffield Steelers 1

Aaron Fox has suffered his first bump in the road as he seeks to drive success back to Sheffield Steelers.

Sunday, 1st September 2019, 18:53 pm
Updated Sunday, 1st September 2019, 21:53 pm
Jonathan Phillips faces off with two-goal Brett Perlini.

His side ran out of gas in their first away game of the season, conceding four goals without reply, two of them in a minute.

It is early days and the match a Challenge Cup group outing, but the result raised eyebrows after a promising pre-season.

On Saturday, Steelers had put Panthers to the sword (8-4) in a high-energy finish to a game they'd trailed 0-3 up until the 27th minute.

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But Sunday saw a reversal, with Panthers taking the honours 5-1.

Tomas Duba, who took over goaltending after Pavel Kantor's Saturday stint, stared down the Nottingham ice at his predecessor, Jackson Whistle who quit Sheffield after his salary went under review.

But Duba's first domestic game for his club started awkwardly: just three minutes in Great Britain forward Brett Perlini moved in one-on-one and beat him with a crisp, high shot. Another ex-Steeler Mark Matheson assisted on the strike.

The lead lasted six minutes. Michael Davies beat Whistle to the puck to level at 1-1, the goal confirmed after video review.

With Aaron Brocklehurst out injured, Sheffield had a bit of defending to do to keep level at the first interval.

Sheffield's early period attention-span was found wanting again at 22;35, young Latvian Georgs Golovkovs scoring with a fine individual goal.

Whistle foiled an immediate reply, getting his pads in the way of a Davey Phillips' effort, John Armstrong then firing the rebound over the bar.

Ben O'Connor was the next Steeler to feel disappointed in the offensive zone; his effort banging off the crossbar.

Sheffield took five penalties in the middle period - and the last one, Brendan Connolly's unwise holding of Matheson, delivered a Power Play goal for 6ft 5ins William Quist.

Despite outshooting their hosts over two periods, Sheffield faced the daunting prospect of reducing a two-goal disadvantage in the final 20 minutes at the Motorpoint.

A five-on-three power play added impetus to their quest. Davies had an opportunity but Nottingham circled the wagons efficiently - it was a turning point in the game.

Another Steeler power play came without success and the continuing lack of penetration was to have profound implications, Perlini scoring his second of the night at 52:57 followed by the same for Quist 63 seconds later.

Nikolai Lemtyugov became the second Steeler to hit the pipework, but Whistle and Matheson got their revenge for the previous night.