Ice Hockey: Sheffield 1 Nottingham 4 - Weekend of netminding misery for Steelers

Zach Fitzgerald scraps with Panthers' Cam Janssen at the Arena
Zach Fitzgerald scraps with Panthers' Cam Janssen at the Arena

Steelers are suffering one of the strangest goaltending calamities in the club’s history.

First choice netminder Tyle Plante is out with an injury and unsure when he’ll be back.

Chris Lawrence - Sheffield Steelers v Nottingham Panthers 15/11/15

Chris Lawrence - Sheffield Steelers v Nottingham Panthers 15/11/15

Czech replacement Marek Pinc was dragged off at Braehead on Sunday after shipping in eight goals. Greenhorn Brad Day replaced him.

Last night Day got the nod - but he too was hauled off with Sheffield 0-4 down to Nottingham at the Arena.

Plante says it is down to medical opinion when he returns.

“I have to wait for the doctors to decide” he said. I want to get back, but I don’t want to aggravate the injury and be back at square one.”

Sheffield Steelers v Nottingham Panthers 15/11/15

Sheffield Steelers v Nottingham Panthers 15/11/15

The problems are undermining a side already struggling to find any consistency.

And, last night, there was an issue in the fact that offensive-sharpness was missing 24 hours after they netted nine times... work that out!

Last night Day seemed in confident mood as he stopped a David Clarke shot on five minutes - but a minute later the same player drifted unmarked into the slot and rifled home the first goal of the game.

Nottingham, who had shut-out Coventry Blaze 4-0 the night before, had to survive a 36-second 5-0n-3 Penalty Kill - and did so with ease.

Sheffield Steelers v Nottingham Panthers 15/11/15

Sheffield Steelers v Nottingham Panthers 15/11/15

Offensively Sheffield were not creating anything clear, while Day had to stick out a foot to stop Andy Bohmbach.

Zack Fitzgerald and Cam Janssen fought a long ugly bout in centre ice at 15;52 but Steelers were not energised by it.

Mathieu Roy took a 10-minute misconduct penalty - a huge loss with Steelers chasing the game - and Panthers added a second with Evan Mosey making it 0-2 .

Some honest endeavour on the right flank from Rob Dowd almost livened up the big home crowd, who had been silently wallowing in misery.

But Paul Thompson’s men couldn’t match Panthers’ clinical finishing. Geoff Waugh and Bohmback both netted in a two minute spell - with the away fans chanting, “easy, easy...”

Things got worse when Mosienko got a match penalty for spearing, further neutralising the home firepower.

Thompson threw on young Luke Ferrara and he assisted on a Levi Nelson goal at 45;51.

The question was this: could Steelers come back from three goals down for the second night in succession. The answer was no.

In fairness to Pinc, he played a sound third period, stopping breakaways from Evan Mosey and Juraj Kolnik and other efforts from Brad Moran and Jeff Dimmen.

And while Sheffield had more intensity, they had nothing like what was required to get anything from the match.

n The game plan going to Glasgow was to limit the amount of goals they had been conceding on the road. They had wanted to limit the shots on their net and not give up a lead, either.

At the end of the night they had allowed 44 shots on goal, conceded eight times including three strikes in three first-period minutes, given up 2-0 and 3-1 leads, replaced Pinc in goal with Day at 47.48 with the Steelers 8-5 down... yet still claimed the points, courtesy of a penalty shoot out and a 9-8 win.

Day denied ex-Steeler Stefan Meyer in the penalty shoot-out, while Fredrik Vestberg, Mosienko and Chris Lawrence all scored.

Scorers in regulation time were Jeff Legue, Levi Nelson (two,) Dowd, Vestberg, (two,) Mosienko and the 8-8 equalising goal came from Roy.

Sunday 15th November

Elite League Results

Coventry Blaze 6 Braehead Clan 3

Edinburgh Capitals 4 Fife Flyers 2

Manchester Storm 2 Cardiff Devils 6

Sheffield Steelers 1 Nottingham Panthers 4

Challenge Cup Group A

Belfast Giants 2 Dundee Stars 3 PS