Panthers v Zurich
0 - 3
The GMB Nottingham Panthers went into a massive game, with a massive challenge in front of a packed house at home, knowing they needed to overhaul a two goal deficit from the first leg in Switzerland.
After twenty minutes the maths stayed the same, but the Panthers had shown everyone their intention to battle and fight for every loose puck.
The fact that it was still 0-0 at the end of the first period was largely due to a wonder save with his pads by keeper Mike Garnett at the back post, but Nottingham had some chances of their own and they nearly sneaked the lead on one rush in particular when defenceman Tim Billingsley jumped into the play.
There was push and shove at the hooter when the Panthers showed they weren't going to be bullied by one of Europe's super clubs, but no calls resulted from the referees.
Another brilliant pad save from a point blank shot by Garnett kept Panthers in the tie early in the second and then when their keeper fluffed, we whacked at a bouncing bomb in front of the goal without connecting.
Brett Perlini steered a Mathieu Gagnon blast from the blue line just off target when he tipped in front, but when Panthers were caught on a line change, the highly rated visitors fed the middle channel and their leading CHL scorer Pettersson carried the puck in to score one on one and make the mountain a little higher for Nottingham.
In the last minute it got a little tougher too when Dan Spang was thrown out on a five and game penalty for Cross-checking.
Lions were to start the third and final period up by three goals on aggregate and with four and a half minutes of powerplay to come, but Panthers' battling spirit prevailed and they brilliantly killed off the full major against one of Europe's top powerplay units.
With eleven minutes to go the tie was out of reach when Lions surged up the ice and got the puck across the front to rattle home their second of the night for a four goal aggregate lead.
Six games in eleven nights took its toll as did late penalties, which saw Lions score on a double powerplay for 0-3 on the night.
To their credit Panthers players and fans alike kept going to the end as a night of hope and anticipation turned into one of recognition for a job well done on behalf of club, city and league.