Nottingham Panthers coach confident of another victory over Sheffield Steelers

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Tim Wallace believes his Nottingham Panthers' side have the ingredients necessary to beat Sheffield Steelers tonight and secure the EIHL Play Offs.

The Panthers' coach said his players were "for the most part in control" of Saturday's opening game in the planned three-match series. They won 5-3, the scoreline inflated by an empty netter at the Motorpoint Arena with 48 seconds left.

Wallace told his players they are "half way there" and that a similar performance will render the scheduled third game unnecessary.

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Panthers' ability to counter Sheffield's neutral zone transition was a key factor in their win, he said.

His opposite number Aaron Fox stated that his team dominated the third period, but praised ex Steeler Jackson Whistle in the Notts' net.

Fox has been unhappy with officiating of alleged infractions during this EIHL tournament.

And his mood wasn't improved when Liam Kirk was called for roughing, with the game tied at 3-3.

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Oliver Betteridge, unassisted, scored on the power play, before Dominic Talbot-Tassi added the empty netter.

Liam Kirk looking for a goal. Pic by Dean Woolley.Liam Kirk looking for a goal. Pic by Dean Woolley.
Liam Kirk looking for a goal. Pic by Dean Woolley.

Fox said he hated games being decided by what he believes is inconsistent decision-making.

He said the referees had "let them get away with anything they want in the 'D' zone and then we take a penalty 180 feet from our own's a little frustrating."

Robert Dowd had put Sheffield into the lead, assisted by Brendan Connolly and Kevin Schulze just before the first break, but Nottingham won both other periods.

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Mark Matheson equalised and then after a Tanner Eberle penalty had been served Talbot-Tassi put Panthers ahead for the first time at 27:26.

Time ran out for Aaron Fox.Time ran out for Aaron Fox.
Time ran out for Aaron Fox.

In a five minute spell, Jonathan Phillips, Panthers' Joshua Tetlow and Josef Mikyska traded goals to make it 3-3...which is how it stayed until Kirk's penalty.

The teams face off again this evening at 7pm with Fox saying: "We will be ready."