Steelers complete treble after penalties

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The Independent Online
Ice hockey


Sheffield Steelers completed the hat-trick of championship, league and cup at Wembley Arena yesterday when they beat Nottingham Panthers 5-4 in the championship final.

However, Panthers took them to penalties after the match finished 3-3 at 60 minutes, the score being the same after 10 minutes of sudden-death overtime.

Defending their championship, Steelers looked to be on course for victory again after two goals in the first period and a third at the start of the second. But Panthers clawed their way back into the match in just over a minute half-way through the second period as A J Kelham, Randall Weber and Neil Morgan proved that even a former National Hockey League goalminder, Wayne Cowley, can be rattled as he conceded three goals as the second period finished 3-3.

The third saw Steelers become more aggressive with British forwards Tony Hand, David Longstaff and Nicky Chinn testing their British team- mate Scott O'Connor, but he and the Panthers defence continually saved their team.

It was the same scenario in overtime with Steelers on the offence, Panthers packed in defence but always threatening on the breakaway. With neither side scoring, the championship went to penalties for only the second time.

It was a mixture of Panthers' nerves and Cowley's nerve that finally won the match. Only Mike Blaisdell cracked Cowley out of the five mandatory penalties while Andre Malo and Wilson scored twice against O'Connor to make it 5-4 to Steelers to earn them a remarkable treble.