Sheffield win title battle

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The Independent Online

Sheffield Steelers are the Premier Division champions, with Cardiff Devils taking second place from Nottingham Panthers after a weekend of crunch matches, in more ways than one, writes Steve Pinder.

When Sheffield faced Nottingham on Saturday night, 12 minutes of penalties were awarded in the first 20 seconds. The 20-minute first period took an hour to complete, with both sides given 28 minutes of penalties.

The Steelers eventually prevailed 8-6, to snatch the title from the side who had led the table since October.

Nottingham's game against Cardiff on Sunday was of the highest quality for 59 minutes and 21 seconds. Then came a bench-clearing brawl, apparently instigated by Nottingham's Ross Lambert.

Both sides were penalised, and after 10 players had been sent to the dressing-room, the game resumed as three-on-three. Hilton Ruggles scored an empty-net goal to give Cardiff a 5-3 win and clinch his place as the country's leading goalscorer with 93.