Nottingham Panthers close to Challenge Cup semi-final

David Clarke
Clarke is the league's joint-leading scorer with 13 goals this season

Nottingham Panthers closed in on Challenge Cup qualification with a 4-2 victory at Sheffield Steelers.

The two sides meet again on Saturday knowing that a Panthers victory would confirm a semi-final spot in a competition they won in 2010 and 2011.

Forward David Clarke told BBC Radio Nottingham: "The professionalism of our performance was impressive.

"Once we got ahead we knew they were going to come hard but we saw out the game, which was great to see."

Panthers took a four-goal lead thanks to strikes from Clarke, Corey Neilson, Gui Lepine and Robert Lachowicz, before Sheffield staged a late fightback with goals from player/coach Ryan Finnerty and Tom Squires.

On Saturday, goals from Clarke, Jordan Fox and Marc Levers helped Panthers to a 3-2 victory in Hull in the league.

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