Injury boost for Nottingham Panthers as they look to bounce back against arch-rivals Sheffield Steelers


Nottingham Panthers hope to be at full strength for this weekend’s tasty double-header which features a visit from arch-rivals Sheffield Steelers.

Head coach Corey Neilson should have a full squad available for selection, having been boosted by the news Alex Mokshantsev has been cleared to play.

The forward was hit in the face by a team-mate’s slapshot last weekend but has been told he does not need surgery, following a hospital check-up with a consultant, and is likely to wear a mask instead.

Mathieu Brisebois and Dan Spang could also be in contention to face the Steelers on Saturday and then Braehead Clan 24 hours later.

The former missed Sunday’s 5-4 defeat to Fife Flyers at the Motorpoint Arena, while Spang was forced off in the first period.

Brisebois returned to skate this week and reportedly has not suffered any adverse reactions, and Spang has also been back in training.

And defenceman Tim Billingsley says the clash with Steelers, in front of a sold-out crowd, provides a great chance to bounce back from Fife’s fightback which saw Panthers surrender a three-goal lead.

Mathieu Brisebois is expected to be available to face Sheffield

Last week was a tough one, we let it slip away. We’ll definitely look to get it back this weekend,” he said.

“A nice big crowd always helps and a big game against Sheffield will get us back in the books.”

Of Sunday’s trip to Braehead, Billingsley added: “We’re feeling pretty good. Hopefully we can start off with a big win on Saturday.

“It’s a bit of a drive up there, but in cliché hockey terms, we’ll keep it simple, do the small things right and I think we’ll be fine.”

Saturday’s match also sees the annual Teddy Bear Toss take place. When the hosts score their first goal of the night, fans will be invited to throw cuddly toys on to the ice, with the Salvation Army on hand to collect them, before passing the gifts on to hard-up families for the festive period.

Billingsley says that although the Teddy Bear Toss can sometimes disrupt momentum, he would happily be the one who sparks the special moment.

“I’ve been on both sides of the coin on that one,” he said. “It slows the game down a little bit. But if you score and thousands of teddy bears are coming down because you’ve scored, it’s a great feeling. I’ll definitely take that any day.”



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