By Kris Smith
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Game 14: Nottingham Panthers V Sheffield Steelers
The two English hockey giants meet again for a third time this season but both clubs have had different starts to the Elite Series.
While the Steelers are sitting top of the standings and are scoring at least six goals in their last four games, the Panthers are searching for crucial points to move off the foot of the table.
Friday 16 April, Face-off: 19:00
NP – 2-4-0
SS – 5-1-0
Austin Cangelosi – 7 points in 6 games (3G, 4A)
Christophe Boivin – 7 points in 6 games (3G, 4A)
Three Players – 5 points in 6 games
Tanner Eberle – 12 points in 6 games (6G, 6A)
Liam Kirk – 10 points in 6 games (5G, 5A)
Sondre Odlen – 9 points in 6 games (5G, 4A)
BETWEEN THE PIPES
Nottingham’s Jackson Whistle recorded his first win of the Elite Series on Wednesday night, as he saved 37 shots in a 4-3 overtime win against Manchester Storm.
However, Ben Bowns may start against the Steelers, as Tim Wallace has rotated his goaltenders for every game so far this season.
In the Steelers goal, it is most likely that Ben Churchfield will continue to start for Sheffield until John Muse is fit to play again.
Although, the young Brit picked up another win on Tuesday as Sheffield beat Coventry Blaze 6-4 and so far this season, Churchfield has five wins from six games.
Sheffield ran out 8-4 winners in their last encounter and they made a flying start, which saw them 5-0 up inside the first 17 minutes, scoring three in the first three minutes.
In the second period, Nottingham finally got off the mark and were 7-2 down heading into the final session, where they continued to exchange goals with the Steelers.
That made it two wins from two for the Steelers against the Panthers this season, with the first match ending 3-2.
Sheffield’s eight goals came from: Tanner Eberle (2), Sondre Olden (2), Jason Hewitt, Jeremy Beaudry, Joshua Waller and Liam Kirk, while Austin Cangelosi and Kevin Domingue both hit braces for the Panthers.
Game 15: Coventry Blaze V Nottingham Panthers
On Saturday night, the Panthers play again and will meet the Blaze for a third time this season, with the Nottinghamshire club looking for their first win against Coventry in the Elite Series.
Saturday 17 April, Face-off: 19:00
CB – 3-2-2
Tristan Keck – 12 points in 7 games (7G, 5A)
Mike Hammond – 11 points in 7 games (3G, 8A)
Nick Jermain – 6 points in 6 games (1G, 5A)
BETWEEN THE PIPES
Shane Owen will most likely start for the Blaze after he put in another impressive performance on Thursday and backstopped them to a 4-3 win over Manchester.
The Canadian now holds a 3-3 record for the season but leads the league in save percentage, with a stop rate of 92.22 per cent.
Whereas, the Panthers are likely to continue rotating their netminders and start whoever does not play on Friday against the Steelers, with Ben Bowns and Jackson Whistle their two main options.
The last match between these two clubs ended the same way as the one before – in a 3-1 win for Danny Stewart’s Blaze.
In the most recent fixture, Coventry went 2-0 up in the first period, with goals from Nicolai Bryhnisveen and Tristan Keck.
However, in the second period, Christophe Boivin brought Tim Wallace’s side to within one goal, before Simen Andre Edvardsen gave Coventry their two-goal lead back and the win.
This was also the second time Bryhnisveen and Elite Series top scorer, Keck netted in this fixture.
Game 16: Sheffield Steelers V Manchester Storm
On Sunday evening, the Steelers take on the Storm and Ryan Finnerty’s men are the only side to have beaten Sheffield so far this season.
Sunday 18 April, Face-off: 16:00
MS – 3-3-1
Scott Simmonds – 10 points in 7 games (4G, 6A)
Ciaran Long – 8 points in 7 games (5G, 3A)
Maxime Fortier – 6 points in 7 games (3G, 3A)
BETWEEN THE PIPES
Manchester could go with their usual starter in Sean Bonar, who has a 50 per cent winning average in his six starts to far this season, but he was rested mid-week as Sam Gospel made his debut in the 4-3 loss to Coventry.
Meanwhile, Ben Churchfield will most likely still be the starter for the Steelers.
In their last encounter, Sheffield exacted their revenge with a 6-4 victory after previously falling 5-4 to Manchester at the start of the season.
The Steelers were leading 3-2 by the end of the first period, after scoring the opener inside 35 seconds but they could not build on their lead in the second session, as both sides netted one each.
Although, Aaron Fox’s men put the game to bed in the third period with two more goals but still conceded once more, to give the final score of 6-4.
On the night, Robert Dowd (2), Beaudry (2), Hewitt and Danielsen all scored for the Steelers, while Scott Simmonds, Jacob Lundell Noer, Dallas Ehrhardt and Craig Peacock netted for the Storm.
(Featured Pictured: Karl Denham)