Match Report: Nottingham Panthers v Sheffield Steelers 27.8.2022

Words: George White
Photos: Nottingham Panthers
Tuesday 30 August 2022
reading time: min, words

A pre-season game between the Nottingham Panthers and Sheffield Steelers was never going to be a quiet one, was it? 


It’s safe to say it was a… mixed time for the Panthers last season. There were some disappointing results, there were some big changes behind the scenes; in short, it was a tough seven months. Yet to say they returned with a bang in this pre-season game would be something for an understatement - for the first period, at least. 

Any Panthers fan knows there’s no such thing as a friendly against the Sheffield Steelers, and a frantic start to the match emphasised this point. The Panthers set out with a point to prove, rushing the opposition defence at every given opportunity, tearing them apart with some smooth passing plays that would make Pep Guardiola proud. Time and again Nottingham’s attackers found themselves in front of the goal, with the likes of Mike Hammond and Brett Welychka smashing it past the goaltender with confidence. Point proven. 

Unfortunately, though, if the first period was a high-intensity classic, the second was something of a damp squib. While there were six goals in total within the first twenty minutes - bringing the Panthers a healthy lead of 4-2 - there were zero in the following twenty. Early-game excitement was replaced with a hint of nervousness, as Sheffield wrestled back control and the Panthers focused on keeping what they had. 

They managed to maintain their two-goal lead until the third period, but that’s when things started to go downhill. Attacking threat almost completely nonexistent, Nottingham were facing a Sheffield side who could smell blood, and they managed to draw it. First, they cut the Panthers’ lead to just one, and then, with only a few minutes of the game left to play, Sheffield’s Adam Raska - a nuisance to Nottingham all game - found the leveller. 

Panthers appeared to forget their finishing sticks in a tense penalty shoot-out, with the Steelers slotting home two of their strikes without reply to put the game to bed. 

There were plenty of positives for the Panthers to take from the game, though, especially in an attacking sense - with Head Coach Gary Graham instilling a flair into this team that was lacking for vast portions of last season. The side welcome the Cardiff Devils to the Motorpoint Arena on Saturday 3 September for the Aladdin Cup - if they can shore up the defence, maintain an attacking threat past the first period and get the supporters in similar, passionate voice once again, they’re in with a real chance at glory. 

You can grab tickets to Nottingham Panthers v Cardiff Devils on the Motorpoint Arena website

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