Lightning v Panthers
Milton Keynes Lightning
3 - 5
The GMB Panthers swapped netminders for the visit to Milton Keynes with Michael Garnett starting between the pipes and Patrick Galbraith on the bench.
The home side opened the scoring in the eighth minute but after killing off a minor tripping penalty Panthers equalised when Mathieu Brisebois hit the back of the net assisted by Dan Spang and Alex Mokshantsev who fed the front of the net after taking the puck deep behind enemy lines.
And Panthers took the lead when Ollie Betteridge and Yann Sauve combined to assist Robert Lachowicz for a go-ahead goal at 11.55.
Lightning killed off a delay of game penalty but at 19.19 Panthers doubled their lead when Yann Sauve fired through the five-hole, assisted by Jeff Brown for a 1-3 scoreline at the first break.
The gloves came off in the second period when Panthers took exception to a late whack on keeper Garnett after a save. Steve Lee and Tim Billingsley picked up a five for fighting and two for roughing respectively, while Lightning’s Mele had the same penalties plus two for cross-checking, all at 28.34.
Panthers immediately scored on the resulting powerplay with assists to Brett Perlini and Mathieu Brisebois and a goal from Josh Shalla. Lightning reduced the deficit back to two goals when Doucet converted while Erik Lindhagen sat for hooking.
Panthers killed off an interference call against Brisebois but the penalty killers were back on duty soon after when Zack Phillips copped two for hooking and the referee’s whistle was in action again to give the same penalty to Dan Spang and over a minute of five-on-three powerplay to the home side which they converted to reduce the deficit to a single goal. Panthers killed off the rest of the penalty to hold on to a 3-4 lead at the second break.
Robert Farmer dropped the gloves in the third and he and Essery took five minute fighting penalties at 51.23. Milton Keynes took their time-out early after an icing by Panthers with five-and-a-half minutes to go. They pulled netminder Miika Wiikman in a last ditch effort to snag an equaliser but Panthers cleared the zone and Robert Farmer sealed the victory with an empty net goal.
Dundee meanwhile beat Manchester in a shoot-out which means Panthers go clear at the top of the Elite League standings.
GMB Panthers next at home on TUESDAY IS BELIEVE DAY when they take on a two goal deficit against European super team Zurich in the knock-out stages of the Champions Hockey League at seven o’clock. Tickets in the home sections are being counted in the hundreds and a massive atmosphere is guaranteed as Panthers bid to keep their record-breaking run in Europe alive.
THE LOUDER THE ROAR – THE BIGGER THE EURO-SCORE!
See you there!