Panthers v Giants
The Nottingham Panthers
0 - 4
The Nottingham Panthers welcomed the Belfast Giants to the Motorpoint Arena on Saturday night for the annual Teddy Bear Toss game, this year in support of Autism East Midlands, in front of a bumper crowd.
Michael Garnett got the start in goal for the Panthers, who were without Jon Rheault, Kevin Henderson and Tim Billingsley, opposite Tyler Beskorowany for the Giants.
Belfast came out hot, Kyle Baun testing Michael Garnett twice in quick succession on the doorstep but the Panthers' netminder stood firm with the left pad to keep him at bay.
With Nottingham growing into the game they drew their first powerplay of the game (9.29) but try as they might they couldn't quite set up and the Giants returned to full strength unscathed. More Panthers pressure led to another powerplay opportunity (14.55) but once again the Giants kept them out, the best chance falling to Robert Farmer as he deflected a shot from the blueline on goal.
Farmer was once again in the thick of things as he was called for roughing (18.11) as the period wound down to give the Giants their first powerplay of the night, a combination of desperate defence and strong netminding keeping the score tied at zero after 20 minutes.
No sooner had the second period got underway the Panthers almost found themselves in the lead, Doty, Farmer and Lepine all going close after a scramble in front of Beskorowany but they couldn't find a way past the Giants' netminder.
Another powerplay for the Panthers (24.46) went by the wayside and the Giants built momentum from their third penalty kill of the night, earning themselves a two-on-one opportunity after a good breakout only to be denied by a fabulous defensive play by Jaynen Rissling.
The Panthers killed a penalty to Brett Perlini (28.59) but just five seconds after he returned to the ice Belfast took the lead, Darcy Murphy slotting home a rebound from David Rutherfords initial shot. Another penalty kill, this time from a penalty to Robert Farmer (32.13) was again killed by the Panthers but once again the Giants used the momentum built to strike, Kevin Raine's floater from the blueline eluding an unsighted Michael Garnett to make it 0-2 (35.07).
Things got better for the side from Northern Ireland just over two minutes later when Hunter Bishop deflected Kyle Baun's shot from the right wing into the Panthers' goal to make it 0-3.
Belfast killed the majority of a penalty to Kevin Raine and the second period came to a close with the visitors firmly in command.
An early third period penalty to Jacob Doty (40.59) saw the Giants score the first powerplay goal of the game, David Rutherford on hand to tap the puck in at the back door after brilliant work from Darcy Murphy out in front.
Despite two late powerplay opportunities the Panthers couldn't find a way past Beskorowany and the Giants skated out of the Motorpoint Arena with the two points for the second time in two weeks.