It’s hard to say what happened on the night or who’s fault it was.
It was clear from the beginning that Steelers goaltender Marek Pinc was not having a good night. The score after the first period was 3-0 to the Nottingham Panthers with goals from Evan Mosey, Matthew Myers and Juraj Kolnik.
The second begins and with only 5 minutes gone the Panthers put another goal past Pinc. A swift shot from the stick of David Clarke with an assist from Logan Macmillan make the score 4-0 to the Nottingham boys. At this point the Steelers are looking defeated. Another goal by the Panthers forward Cam Janssen and Paul Thompson switches Pinc for Brad Day.
Nothing seems to be helping the cause as Day‘s first job is to scoop another puck from the back of the net. The score now standing at 6-0 to Nottingham. A fight between the Steelers Zack Fitzgerald and Panthers Janssen momentarily gives the Steelers fans something to cheer about as both are given 5 minute penalties for fighting. As the second period draws to a close both teams are playing with 4 men on the ice. The score still 6-0 to the away team.
With the third period underway the penalties just don’t let up, both teams giving away minutes but it’s a power play goal by Kolnik after a 2 minute penalty for slashing on Sheffield’s Cullen Eddy that makes it 7 unanswered goals to the Panthers.
Adding insult to injury in the closing minutes of the game the Panthers add goal number 8. Brad Moran banging that last nail into the Steelers coffin. Steelers fans are still cheering for their team as they leave the ice, all players looking thoroughly defeated.
What went wrong for the Steel City side. After the game Head Coach Paul Thompson had this to say;
I’m just embarrassed. Embarrassed by the performance of the team today and I am part of that team. To play our local rivals… It was unacceptable. I feel for the fans. I mean we’re a team that battles, on Sunday we were a team who plays with our heart on our sleeves and tonight… I don’t know if they were good or if we were just terrible… Everything that went at the net went in tonight.
It’s the worst 60 minutes of hockey that I’ve been a part of for 20 odd years and I’m very disappointed and embarrassed. What you saw tonight was inexcusable and we’ve got to restore some pride. We’re out of the cup, it’s as simple as that. I’m not being a defeatist. We’re out of the cup because we were, to the man, awful and we have to go and restore some pride in our club tomorrow. We’re going to be taking it from 6000 fans who are going to be relishing in it and we owe our fans some pride.
We’ll have our fans there tomorrow night who have paid good money to come and watch us and you put on a Steelers shirt and you expect a certain level of commitment… We were a second too late for everything… We could have played another 3 hours tonight and we wouldn’t have scored a goal. I don’t think they needed to do anything tonight to make us look as poor as we did… It’s my job now to put it back together.
Strong words from Paul Thompson and powerful ones too. There are no excuses here. Not today. Pick up, dust down and to go out tomorrow to restore the pride their fans have in them.
Feature photo: @SarahLCutts on Twitter