NOTTINGHAM Panthers - four points clear at the top of the table - feel as if they have one hand on the Elite League trophy today.
Panthers had to come from behind. But when they did, they made it count.
Steelers had suffocated Panthers’ offence, and outshot them, in the first period, but neither side could find the net, in the sell-out at the NIC.
Sheffield were the more dominant. And they took that spirit into the second session, which was just 45 seconds old when Danny Meyers, the former long-term Notts D-man, scored for Ryan Finnerty’s side.
It was a feisty affair with Simon Ferguson – who had a ‘goal’ disallowed - and strong arm d-man Chris Frank both irritating home fans.
Yet Panthers finally breached the visitors’ defence at 31;20, Bruce Graham scoring after work involving David Ling and Jordan Fox. That set up a winner-takes-all last session.
And given the fact Panthers, who started the night three points clear of Sheffield, and with a game in hand, Steelers needed to win. But it all went horribly wrong. With Frank in the sin bin, Pat Gallivan scored for 2-1.
The third, from Fox, was a killer as Sheffield collapsed; a fourth coming from Brandon Benedict. Steve Goertzen narrowed the margin to 4-2. But they ran out of steam and it would take a brave man now to predict, with nine games left, anything other than a Panthers title triumph.