Jeff Legue returned to Sheffield Steelers this afternoon in the biggest match of the Elite League ice hockey calendar, but he will chose the forget this game and its result.
Offensively Steelers were strangely subdued early on against a resolute Nottingham Panthers.
And as the game wore on, they never convincingly tore into the opposition.
Legue, who quit his three year contract at Sheffield Steeldogs a few days ago, was on the ‘third’ line with Danny Bois and Rod Sarich, which means on-form Phil Hill lost that slot.
Gerad Adams’ team started the match two points clear of Braehead Clan, at the top of the table, having played two games fewer.
But they could not kick-start their offensive, curiously.
And Panthers were good value for the game’s opener, Steve Lee scoring from the right flank.
It was only when they were a goal down that Steelers started to examine the visitors’ defence.
The second session was a similar story, with too few quality chances and Panthers scoring a second through Chris Higgins.
Panthers played a conservative last period but still managed two goals in the last minute, from Chris Lawrence and Greg Jacina.
A flattering scoreline perhaps for Panthers, but Steelers got what they deserved.
Coach Adams said his team had been slow and failed to find the net when they did create scoreable chances.
He wants an immediate response tomorrow in the return game at the NIC.
Saturday 27th December
Belfast Giants v Braehead Clan – 7.00pm
Cardiff Devils v Coventry Blaze – 7.00pm
Fife Flyers v Dundee Stars – 7.15pm
Hull Stingrays v Edinburgh Capitals – 6.30pm
Nottingham Panthers v Sheffield Steelers – 7.00pm
Sunday 28th December
Braehead Clan v Belfast Giants – 6.00pm
Dundee Stars v Fife Flyers – 6.30pm
Edinburgh Capitals v Hull Stingrays – 6.00pm