FOR the second night running the Sheffield Steelers lost 3-2 to arch-rivals Nottingham Panthers. For the second night running, Stanley Cup winner Jason Williams scored the game-winning goal.
Steelers’ head coach Paul Thompson insisted he was happy with his players’ efforts at the National Ice Centre and the way they reacted to “not showing up” the previous night at Sheffield Arena.
But, despite the praise for his roster, Thompson made it clear he will be scouring the market to bring in a fresh face or two, presumably to improve the one key area where his team seems to be faltering – scoring goals.
“I wanted to see a reaction in Nottingham and I got one,” said Thompson. “There were no excuses on Boxing Day. We let ourselves and our wonderful fans down. But in Nottingham we played a good, hard road game.
“I saw the reaction I wanted from my team and I saw the pain of defeat in the room afterwards.”
Thompson was again left frustrated by aspects of the officiating – most notably for the third-period roughing call on Mathieu Roy that left the Steelers unable to kill the subsequent 5-on-3 powerplay which allowed the Panthers to draw level through Stephen Schultz’s second of the night.
I wanted to see a reaction in Nottingham and I got one - I saw the pain of defeat in the room afterwards.Paul Thompson, Sheffield Steelers’ head coach.
Earlier, Roy’s 13th-minute strike cancelled out Schultz’s opener before Colton Fretter gave the visitors the lead at 16.37.
A goalless second period followed before the key 49th-minute call on Roy that saw him join Levi Nelson in the box.
After Schultz’s leveller, it was left to Williams – who won the sport’s most prized trophy, the Stanley Cup, with the Detroit Red Wings back in 2002 – to strike the telling blow with just under two minutes remaining.