Sheffield Steelers 2-3 Nottingham Panthers: Inexcusable defending says coach

Nottingham Panthers beat Sheffield on their own ice
Nottingham Panthers beat Sheffield on their own ice
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Sheffield Steelers' hopes of moving towards the Play Offs on a wave of consistent form faced a shattering blow.

Paul Thompson's men were 0-3 down to seventh-placed Nottingham Panthers after two periods and their big import guns silenced.
Eric Lindhagen had put the visitors ahead on six minutes and won the period, despite being outshot 21-11.
In a closer middle period Panthers scored two more from Mike Vaskivuo and Evan - two in under three minutes.
Steelers needed some inspiration and got it from Dowd, who was playing his 500th game for Sheffield.

In a game slightly over-shadowed by the fact Cardiff Devils had won the League 24 hours earlier, Steelers cut the Panthers goal margin back to 2-3 when Dowd scored a slapshot on the right wing, from Levi Nelson and Scott Aarssen with five minutes of regular time left.

It was an exciting finish for the 8,263 Arena fans - but ultimately a disappointing one.

The side has lost their last two at a time they need to find a winning rythm.

And Nottingham had avenged their defeat by the same score at the NIC seven days earlier.

Levi Nelson v Nottingham tonight

Levi Nelson v Nottingham tonight

Coach Paul Thompson said Panthers' goalie Patrick Galbraith, who saved 58 shots, and his side's defensive lapses, were the reasons why Nottingham went home with the points.

He said the team's fourth line were minus two on the night and said Liam Kirk's positioning was at fault for one of the goals.

Thompson described the second Panthers' goal as "inexcusable."

His side remain in fifth - but are now level on points with Guildford Flames, while Nottingham are just a point behind.

Colton Fretter v Nottingham Panthers

Colton Fretter v Nottingham Panthers

*Dowd's 500 games' achievement is a formidable one.

Only Jeff Legue, Rod Sarich, Mark Thomas, Ron Shudra, Jason Hewitt and Jonathan Phillips have represented Steelers more.

*Steelers travel to back-to-back champions Cardiff for the Sunday night game.

Thompson's men have lost seven Conference games at home (out of 12) and seven away (out of 11) so far.

Robert Dowd - 500 up

Robert Dowd - 500 up