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5th March 2005
|Referee: S Kirkham|
|Match complete||Nottingham Panthers|
|1 : 0 : 2 = 3||Goals||0 : 0 : 0 = 0|
|6 : 4 : 7 = 17||Shots||8 : 12 : 11 = 31|
|4 : 0 : 4 = 8||Penalties in Minutes||36 : 0 : 2 = 38|
Sheffield Steelers 3-0 Nottingham Panthers
Steelers missing Steve Duncombe, Gavin Farrand and Les Millie but dress 16 year old Daniel Wood. Panthers missing Kim Ahlroos.
5475 saw home goalie Jayme Platt recorded his fourth successive shut-out, having already set a new Sheffield Steelers record when he posted his third last Saturday in Belfast. Unsurprisingly he gained sides Man of the Match award, as Sheffield restricted Nottingham to shots from distance with very few exceptions. Panthers fans will not need reminding this is their second successive 3-0 defeat, table-topping Coventry Blaze inflicting the same scoreline at the NIC last Saturday.
At the other end, Dave Cousineau popped up 10 feet out left of centre to fire first-time into the far top corner (15:18) to give Sheffield a first period lead. In the final minute of the period David Clarke checked Gerad Adams into the boards and although play was not stopped, when play halted for an interference penalty against Mike Peron, Clarke was assessed a 2+10 checking to the head penalty after a discussion with the linesmen. Panthers coach Paul Adey was then thrown out during the first interval, with injured Kim Ahlroos taking over the coaching duties.
A goal-less middle session followed and with tensions running high play was stopped with less than 4 minutes remaining after the Nottingham bench insisted a fan struck Gary Moran on the bench.
After security men stepped in, the game resumed and continued goal-less until Mike Peron stripped NHLer Ian Moran near his own net to fire over Curtis Cruickshank's left shoulder (56:46). And when Ahlroos pulled Cruickshank for the extra skater, Erik Anderson won the race to the puck to hit the empty net from the edge of Panthers defensive zone (59:16).
Panthers took two early penalties to give Sheffield 23 seconds of 5-on-3 play and Cruickshank did well to blank Anderson on the doorstep following Dion Darling's right wing shot. With Panthers back to 4 skaters Ron Shudra pushed up on the blind side, but the impressive NHL All Star Nick Boynton whipped the puck off the veteran's toes.
With Daryl Andrews sitting a holding penalty Scott Ricci and Marek Ivan tested Platt. Then Boynton dispossessed Mike Peron as he went down the right wing. Seconds later Clarke popped up 10 feet out but blazed wide. Soon after Cousineau had a similar chance and made his count.
The period ended with Panthers pressing and this trend continued throughout the middle session. Young Daniel Scott stepped out of the penalty box to receive a long pass and went right on Platt, but the goalie shut the door.
Panthers defencemen Ricci and Boynton kept Platt busy, and Ian Moran hit a bullet from the left wing but straight at the goalie. Dutiaume hit a first-time slapshot from the edge of the zone which Cruickshank turned aside. The clearance released ex-Steeler Calle Carlsson, but Dutiaume got back to do just enough to take the edge off Carlsson's shot.
Anderson and Gerad Adams both got in close but were thwarted as the period drew to a close.
Panthers' pressure in the final session led to Marc Lefebvre taking two penalties at his own end. Platt denied Boynton and Konstantin Kalmikov on the first powerplay and Adams almost nicked a short-handed goal, but Ricci froze the puck on the goal-line.
With 10 minutes left Sheffield got a second wind and three times Adams was thwarted close-in. With 5 minutes left Platt went walkabout to play the puck and missed, but recovered just in time. Then came those late, late goals.
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