Panthers lose at last

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ICE HOCKEY Nottingham Panthers, the Premier Division leaders, were finally beaten in their 21st league game of the season, writes Steve Pinder. They fell at second-placed Sheffield Steelers in a passionate derby that saw the Steelers draw level on points, although

the Panthers have two games in hand.

The game lived up to its billing, although after 24 minutes it looked like it was going to be a rout with Sheffield 6-1 up. But 12 minutes later after five goals without reply, the Panthers were back to 6-6.

In the final period Ross Lambert gave the Panthers the lead, Steve Nemeth restored equality, Lambert scored again and, with 12 minutes left, Les Millie made it 8-8. The 9,300 crowd were hoarse when, with two minutes left, Ron Shudra scored the Steelers' winning goal. Sheffield are now unbeaten in 13 games and both teams are six points clear of Cardiff Devils.

Peterborough Pirates ended a sequence of seven games without a win by beating Basingstoke Beavers. Anthony Payne, making his home debut for the Pirates, opened the scoring after 10 minutes. With a minute left, he scored his second goal to make the final score 4-3.