Panthers v Blaze
The Nottingham Panthers
3 - 0
Over 6000 fans filled the Motorpoint Arena on Goose Fair weekend to see Midlands rivals Nottingham & Coventry in Elite League action on Saturday night.
Michael Garnett got the start in goal for The Nottingham Panthers, who were without the services of Jon Rheault & Tommy Hughes, opposite Miroslav Kopriva for the Blaze.
Coventry thought they had taken the lead at 6.14, Kevin Morris deflecting the puck past Michael Garnett but after a video review it was ruled to have been with a high stick and the goal was washed out.
Nottingham killed a penalty to Jaynen Rissling at 8.34, Robert Lachowicz killing 20 seconds on his own by skating the puck into the Coventry Zone and holding it against the boards before the Panthers returned to full strength.
With Coventry's Ben Lake in the box for slashing Mark Hurtubise whistled the puck past the post on a one-timer from the top of the left wing face-off circle.
The Panthers didn't miss on their next powerplay, Kevin Morris went to the box for tripping and the slickest of passing between the powerplay unit saw Robert Farmer convert at the backdoor at 19.06 to give The Nottingham Panthers a 1-0 lead after the first 20 minutes.
Nottingham killed off the backend of Gui Lepine penalty to start the second period, before Coventry rang one off the crossbar.
Michael Garnett would stand tall on the Blaze's next powerplay, with Lepine in the box (this time for charging) the Panthers netminder denied the Blaze on his doorstep not once, not twice but three times to keep the Panthers in the lead.
Jacob Doty dropped the gloves with Trey Lewis at 35.38, the Panthers forward receiving a standing ovation from the bumper crowd after comfortably getting the better of the tilt.
An energised Panthers team would double their lead at 36.33 when Brett Perlini fired the puck past Kopriva after he was found by Justin Kovacs.
The second period ended in feisty fashion when a coming together behind Michael Garnett's goal at the hooter resulted in Coventry's Kevin Morris receiving a two minute roughing minor.
A meandering third period exploded into action with just over ten minutes reamining, first Tim Billingsley on the backcheck disrupted Tim Crowders breakaway attempt before Jaynen Rissling delivered a crunching centre-ice hit then dropped the gloves with Trey Lewis, in his second bout of the night, at 48.31.
With Tyler Biggs in the box for boarding at 50.06 Michael Garnett would show all of his flexibility, denying the Blaze with his right pad as they attempted to go tic-tac-toe.
Tim Billingsley hit the pipework on the powerplay at 52.53 before Kevin Henderson was denied by the Coventry netminder.
On the same powerplay Mark Hurtubise extended the Panthers lead, the forward getting the puck past Kopriva in close at 54.37 for a powerplay goal.
That would be it for the scoring and the Panthers took the two points to send their fans home happy on Goose Fair weekend as Michael Garnett recorded his first domestic shutout for The Nottingham Panthers.