Panthers v Lightning
6 - 2
Milton Keynes Lightning
Milton Keynes Lightning were the visitors to the Motorpoint Arena on Saturday night as The Nottingham Panthers looked to bounceback from their first regulation loss in ten league games last Sunday.
Patrick Munson got the start in goal for the Panthers, opposite Patrick Killeen for the Lightning, and was tested early as the visitors came out of the blocks the faster of the two teams. First making a flashy glove save before tracking the puck well through traffic to keep the Lightning at bay.
Killeen made his first real save of the game as he denied Dylan Richard, trailing the play, as he shot from the top of the left wing face-off circle. The Lightning netminder had to be alert once more to deny Perlini from the slot shortly afterwards as the Panthers started to grow into the game.
Ollie Betteridge had a chance to put the Panthers in front but found Killeen in top form as he narrowed the angle and shutdown the Panthers' forward.
Lightning built momentum off of the performance of the netminder and at 16.47 took advantage of a defensive miscommunication when Marek Mazanec broke in one-on-one and beat Munson on the blocker side to make it 0-1.
The lead wouldn't last long for the visitors as Brett Perlini walked out from the goal line before turning and firing a quick shot through the five-hole of Killeen (19.37) to tie the game after 20 minutes of play.
The Panthers lost Alex Bolduc and Marek Tvrdon to injury after the first period but, despite their reduced numbers, dominated the Lightning over the next 20 minutes.
Jaynen Rissling tried to catch Killeen out with a shot from the half-wall before Alex Guptill drew a hooking call on a partial breakaway. Patrick Killeen once again made his presence felt as he robbed Pither on the doorstep when the Panthers' forward deflected a shot on goal.
Milton Keynes killed another penalty, this time after Mark Hurtubise was tripped up, but the Panthers' second period pressure finally told when Dylan Richard, showing tremendous patience to the side of the goal, hit Mark Hurtubise on the tape and he tapped into a half-empty cage with Killeen frozen out of position (37.07) to put the Panthers up by one after two periods.
Alex Guptill once again proved too hot to handle for the Lightning defenceman as he drew another hooking call (43.39) and it took the Panthers less than 20 seconds to capitalise on the powerplay. Robert Farmer tucking home the rebound from Tim Billingsley's point shot (43.56) to make it 3-1.
Under a minute later the home side found themselves up by three. Ollie Betteridge broke in two-on-one with Luke Pither and the latter made no mistake from the former's feed (44.34) to make it 4-1.
Steve Lee was called for roughing after taking exception to a hit along the boards but the Panthers' penalty killers, and Patrick Munson, stood firm and they returned to full strength unscathed.
Milton Keynes pulled one back (49.40) but it didn't take long for the Panthers to regain their three goal lead. Robert Farmer guiding Justin Kovacs' hard pass (51.22) into the back of the goal to make it a 5-2 game. The goal signalled the end of Patrick Killeen, as with the game gone he was pulled, in favour of youngster Adam Goss, as the Lightning moved their eyes to tomorrow's road game against Coventry.
Dylan Richard put the icing on the cake when he scored into a half empty net, after breaking in two-on-one with Mark Hurtubise, and The Nottingham Panthers skated away with the two points in their final home game before Christmas.