Much has been said about Steelers’ lethal firepower this season - up until Christmas only Braehead had kept abreast of their goal ratio.
It would be unfair to assume that net-filling prowess cannot be guaranteed every game. But did it really have to disappear in the two highest profile games of the season?
Top of the league Steelers were shut out 0-4 at home on Boxing Day by Nottingham, who had been ranked mid-table, and then defeated 3-2 on Saturday by them.
While Sheffield fans had been expecting their forwards to do the damage, especially with Jeff Legue returing, it didn’t happen.
And the exciting player that most people will remember from these two games is Panthers Chris Lawrence, the 181-game AHL forward who scored three times against Frank Doyle in the festive series.
In fact, when Lawrence scores against Steelers, the Nottingham team wins.
In September the 27-year-old Canadian scored and Notts won 2-1. In November he clocked up a couple and they won 7-2.
A pattern is forming, and it’s not a pretty one.
Sheffield has done well this year, mainly on the back of the goals of first-liners Mathieu Roy, Colton Fretter and Mike Forney.
But in the six games so far against Panthers, Roy has only got one goal and only Fretter can be happy with his haul of three. Yet the Boxing Day beating hadn’t seemed to have left any lasting psychological damage. Pascal Morency, who had to retired this season after concussion injuries, had backed Steelers to bounce back and they certainly seemed to do that on Saturday.
They seemed determined to work goalie Mattias Modig and went ahead at 3;43 when Fretter opened the scoring.
And it was 2-0 on six minutes when Rob Dowd finished off a Darryl Hay move, a fair reward for their superior play.
Nottingham didn’t look as unified as they had been 24 hours earlier but it still needed two excellent pieces of defending to keep them off the score sheet: Gord Baldwin launched himself to block a goalbound puck and Doyle’s glove stopped Evan Mosey.
A clever, instinctive finish on 25 minutes from Lawrence jolted Steelers back into reality though as Panthers began to respond to the crowd’s urges.
At this stage, you felt the next goal would be crucial - and there were chances for both sides, Forney unable to convert one of the clearer opportunities.
When it came, it was late and a heartbreaker for Sheffield, Charles Landry’s big shot winging past Frank Doyle.
That sinking feeling went into overtime, when a Forney penalty for hooking with seven seconds of regulation time carried over and Lawrence punished Steelers once again.
Coach Gerad Adams was livid about the penalty, saying the officials had let other issues go, yet called a “marginal one” which influenced the result.
Adams did recognise though that he “needed some scoring..some guys need to pick it up in the goals department.” He mentioned Tyler Mosienko and Danny Bois in particular.