SHEFFIELD STEELERS' comeback proved in vain when they went down 4-3 after a shoot-out at home to Nottingham Panthers.
A Mathieu Roy tip-in with less than two minutes had ensured that the Steelers would take at least a point from their first league clash with arch-rivals Nottingham Panthers as the game was forced into overtime.
But, after a frantic yet goalless additional period, it was Panthers' Mark Derlago who came up trumps in the penalty shots, the only one of six shooters to find the back of the net, meaning the Steelers are still looking for a first win in the Erhardt Conference after four games.
In front of a packed Sheffield Arena, the Steelers had enjoyed the better of an absorbing first period, deservedly going ahead on the power play through a Tim Wallace rocket from just inside the blue line at just 4.26.
A relatively even spell followed, the Steelers enjoying more possession without creating as many clear-cut chances as they would have liked.
They were made to pay for that before the end of the period through an audacious piece of skill from former Steelers forward Robert Farmer who, left alone in front of Ervins Mustukovs, back-flicked the puck through his legs before turning and flicking it over the home side's netminder.
It got worse for the Steelers less than a minute into the second period when Yann Sauve made the Steelers pay for failing to clear their lines, finding himself all alone at the back post to slot the puck past Mustukovs. More misery was to follow less than four minutes later when Tim Billingsley made it 3-1.
Zack Fitzgerald and Mathieu Gagnon were handed five-minute fighting majors in the 29th minute for their centre ice tussle, the Panthers player coming off worse when he was escorted off the ice dripping blood. He later came out for the third period.
Steelers' best spell of the period got its just rewards when, after a rasping Ben O'Connor effort was blocked, the puck dropped kindly for Matt Marquardt who quickly adjusted his stride to fire past Michael Garnett at 37.34 to give the Steelers' fans hope.
The Steelers pushed hard in the third, but Garnett stood firm until less than two minutes remained when Roy added to his first period assist on Wallace's goal by tipping in a Colton Fretter effort on the power play at 58.16, forcing the game into 3-on-3 overtime.
Fretter, Mark Matheson and Robert Dowd all went close in the extra five-minute period, but neither side could find the breakthrough, forcing a shoot-out.
John Armstrong, Andreas Valdix and Tim Wallace were all denied for the Steelers, with Derlago flicking his effort into the roof of the net over Mustukovs's left shoulder.