The Steelers will go into tonight’s rematch with Corey Neilson’s side at the National Ice Centre somewhat smarting after being blanked at home, although their head coach feels the Boxing Day scoreline was not a fair refelction of the whole game.
“I don’t think we were at our best but I also don’t think we were at our worst,” said Adams.
“I thought we played well enough to win the game, but we just didn’t execute in the right areas. They played good, but I certainly don’t think 4-0 was the right scoreline for that game.
“Our mental approach was good for the first two periods – usually it gets stronger in our team as the game goes along. We usually have the composure and belief.
“We just want the next game to start as soon as possible.”
Steelers – with Jeff Legue back in their ranks after a four-month stay at EPL neighbours Sheffield Steeldogs – found themselves behind just before the 10-minute mark when defenceman Stevie Lee fired past goaltender Frank Doyle.
As Steelers pressed for an equaliser, Mike Forney was controversially sent to the box despite the home side being convinced the penalty call should have gone their way.
Panthers made the most of the resulting man advantage and doubled their lead through Chris Higgins’s 30th-minute strike.
Steelers couldn’t find a way through the Panthers defence and, not long after they had pulled Doyle, the game was over when Chris Lawrence scored an empty-netter at 18.59. Greg Jacina made it 4-0 with just 13 seconds remaining on the clock.
Despite yesterday’s result, Steelers remain better positioned going into tonight’s second showdown in as many days.
Adams’s team remain two points clear at the top of the overall standings from Braehead Clan with a game in hand. Nottingham are seven points adrift of their Yorkshire rivals with a game in hand.
Hull Stingrays welcome Edinburgh Capitals to East Yorkshire tonight (7pm) for the first part of what player-coach Omar Pacha has described as a “can’t-lose weekend.”
“We are going to have to raise our compete level an extra notch if we are to get to two wins,” said Pacha. “It is not going to be easy but it is a can’t-lose weekend.”