Devils v Panthers
7 - 3
The GMB Nottingham Panthers headed to South Wales to take on the Cardiff Devils on Sunday night, as they looked to rebound from a shutout defeat against arch rivals Sheffield and put a dent in the Cardiff Devils charge towards the title.
The game began well for the Panthers as, despite not having much possession, they kept Cardiff at bay and limited them to shots from the outside that starting netminder Patrick Galbraith dealt with with ease.
The good defensive work paid off as they drew a penalty and promptly scored on the powerplay.
Alexander Mokshantsev sent the puck east to west across the ice where Brett Perlini fed the puck to Yann Sauve who floated a puck on goal, Jeff Brown had stationed himself in front of Cardiff Devils netminder Ben Bowns and deflected the puck home at 6:32.
Some heroic penalty killing from the Panthers saw them keep one of the league's best powerplays at bay after they received a two minute 5 on 3 midway through the first period, with Galbraith standing tall whenever the puck did make it’s way through to him.
The period ended without further incident and the Panthers took a lead into the 1st intermission.
Period 2 began brightly for the Panthers, as for the first few shifts they retained possession and had pressure in the Devils zone.
But then, a speculative point shot from the Devils found it’s way, off a couple of Panthers players, to Justin Faryna in front who potted his 1st of 4 goals on the night and they never looked back.
Less than a minute later they took the lead as some confusion on the Panthers bench allowed Faryna to skate in and score his second of the night.
At 27:29 in the game, the league's number two powerplay finally clicked, as the Devils extended their lead on a slick passing play, finished with a deflection in the high slot into the roof of the net.
A solo effort from Joey Haddad extended Cardiff’s lead to three at 35:49, helping to continue the Devils recent trend of heavy scoring in 2nd periods.
The 3rd period began with the Panthers on the powerplay and, whilst they had some good looks, the Cardiff Devils defence & netminder stood strong to keep them out.
Two goals in less than a minute at the midway point of the 3rd period saw a netminding change for both teams, as Garnett replaced Galbraith & Murdy replaced Bowns.
The Devils added their 7th & final goal of the night shortly afterwards as they broke into the Panthers zone and Faryna scored his 4th of the evening.
Two late Powerplay markers from Zack Phillips & Yann Sauve that the performance more than deserved, as the Panthers never gave up despite the game going against them.
The Devils skated away with the two points as they continue their push to retain their league crown, the Panthers will be gunning to set the record straight as the two teams meet again but this time at the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham on Saturday.