Ice Hockey: Panthers pounce to stay on track for title

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Nottingham Panthers maintained their status at the top of the Elite League on Sunday night thanks to an unusually low-scoring contest at Manchester Phoenix.

A brace of goals from David Struch and Lee Jinman gave the visitors a 2-0 win, with the Panthers netminder Niklas Sundberg achieving a 20-shot shut-out against Phoenix, who had Miroslav Skovira ejected for tripping.

However, second-placed Sheffield Steelers kept the pressure on Nottingham with a comprehensive 6-2 win at injury-hit Coventry Blaze. Hilton Ruggles gave the hosts the lead. Mike Peron levelled for the Blaze on the powerplay but then Steve Ellis, Joel Irving, Ryan Lake and Erik Anderson, who scored twice, turned things around to make Joel Poirier's powerplay effort for Coventry a mere consolation.

Sheffield and Nottingham are tied at the top of the League with 36 points, but the Steelers are in a good position with three games in hand.

Elsewhere, a strong final period from Cardiff Devils saw them come back to beat London Racers 4-2.

Mojmir Musil and Mark Scott had twice put the visitors ahead, but Jeff Burgoyne and Jeff Brown rewarded the Devils after Jonathan Phillips' opener, before the latter sealed the points with an empty net goal 13 seconds from time.

The night before London picked up only their fourth point of the season when they took Basingstoke to extra time before eventually going down 5-4.

On the same night, Belfast Giants claimed a 3-1 win at home to Cardiff Devils.