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Page last updated at 11:38 GMT, Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Nottingham Panthers' Kowalski wants to face Steelers

Craig Kowalski
Kowalski was born in Michigan in the USA

Injured Nottingham Panthers netminder Craig Kowalski is determined to play in back-to-back matches against rivals Sheffield Steelers over Christmas.

The two sides meet in Sheffield on Boxing Day and Nottingham a day later.

Kowalski told BBC Radio Nottingham: "I am shooting [to be fit] for the Sheffield series. If it happens it happens but I will be optimistic.

"It couldn't have been worse timing and you want to be out there, but you have to let the injury takes its course."

The American, who was the top netminder in the league at the time, injured his groin in the bench clearance brawl against Coventry earlier this month.

He's pretty good considering he hasn't skated since April

Craig Kowalski on Kevin St Pierre

Kowalski has since missed three matches, in which time Panthers have only won once.

British netminder Dan Green started the penalty shot defeat at home to Hull, before Panthers persuaded last year's Challenge Cup winning goalie Kevin St Pierre to return to cover Kowalski's absence.

The French-Canadian played back-to-back matches in Edinburgh, as Panthers split their series in the Scottish capital with a win and a defeat, and Kowalski is impressed with the fitness of his fellow North American.

"He's pretty good considering he hasn't skated since April - he's probably doing a lot better than I would do," Kowalski added.

"He did us a huge favour coming here, that's for sure."

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see also
Panthers/Blaze punished for brawl
08 Dec 10 |  Ice Hockey
St Pierre agrees Panthers return
07 Dec 10 |  Ice Hockey
Kowalski relief at first shut-out
03 Nov 10 |  Ice Hockey
Panthers sign netminder Kowalski
08 Jul 10 |  Ice Hockey

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