PAUL THOMPSON said Sheffield Steelers’ thrilling comeback win over Nottingham Panthers on Sunday night was just reward for the fans who stuck by him and his team.
The Steelers overturned a three-goal deficit from the first leg in Nottingham on Saturday to win 7-6 on aggregate after Guillaume Desbien’s stunning overtime winner in Sheffield the following night.
It leaves the five-time Elite League champions now facing a play-off semi-final against Belfast Giants at Nottingham’s National Ice Centre this Saturday.
Many people - including some Steelers’ fans - had written off the club’s chances after Saturday night’s 5-2 loss to the Panthers, fearing it marked the end of their season given they had finished third in the regular season standings and been beaten in the Challenge Cup Final by grand-slam chasing Cardiff Devils.
Click on the PLAY button above to see how Steelers overcame Panthers on Sunday night
The players and Thompson have at times this season come in for fierce criticism from sections of the supporters, particularly on social media, making Sunday night’s comeback at Sheffield Arena all the more sweeter.
“You get tough in sport because there’s always a lot of people who think they know a lot more than you do and are all too ready to jump on your back when you do or don’t achieve what you need to achieve,” said Thompson.
“But we’ve showed the good, quality fans that we’ve got tonight – the ones that are behind us – what we’re all about.”
Despite dominating the majority of Sunday’s second leg, it was 18 minutes before the Steeles got the breakthrough they deserved and another 20 minutes before they added a second.
But Thompson never doubted his players’ ability to deliver when it mattered.
“I thought we were relentless and I thought we were unbelieveable - I never doubted that we would get the goals,” insisted Thompson.
“That is probably as good a game of hockey that has ever been played on this ice and the passion and the emotion from the fans - the noise they made for us and how they got behind us - was just unbelievable.”
Yorkshire Post - Sport
That is probably as good a game of hockey that has ever been played on this ice and the passion and the emotion from the fans was just unbelievable.Sheffield Steelers’ head coach, Paul Thompson
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