ICE HOCKEY: Panthers find it tough at top

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The Independent Online
Nottingham Panthers, the Premier Division leaders, maintained their lead at the top of the table but their two post-Christmas draws saw the lead cut to two points.

In their first match at home to Humberside Hawks, Panthers, unbeaten so far this season, looked to be in control with a 2-1 lead at the end of the first period. Simon Hunt made it 3-1 but his dismissal for attempted spearing with 10 minutes to go changedthe match and Hawks pulled back to 3-3.

Hawks' Scott Young scored again only for Nottingham's Rick Brebant to make it 4-4. Brebant then appeared to have given Panthers the win with two minutes left but Darcy Cahill's goal 30 seconds later forced a draw.

The following day Panthers were at Sheffield Steelers where a sell-out 9,300 crowd saw Brebant and Hunt give Panthers a 2-0 lead after 18 minutes. But Steelers levelled by the end of the second period and then took the lead through Ron Shudra. With four minutes left, Brebant equalised.

Basingstoke Beavers and Cardiff Devils took the phrase Boxing Day a little too literally. By the end of a game, which saw Beavers win 8-7, the referee had awarded more than 156 minutes of penalties.

Results, Sporting Digest, page 31

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