Giants v Panthers
4 - 5
Michael Garnett and Jackson Whistle were on netminding duty and Tom Darnell was in charge of the officials in Belfast.
Alex Mokshantsev was joined in the box, just as he was about to step out, by Yann Sauve but following the next face-off, the Panthers’ forward did emerge from the sin-bin and poke-checked the puck away from Belfast on the Panthers’ blueline, before latching on to it in neutral ice and carrying in to score short-handed on the one-on-one (7.24).
Two late first period goals, 71 seconds apart with a tip-in and a shot off the right channel, turned the scoreboard on its head before the first break.
In the second, two tripping calls on the home side gave Panthers 1.45 of five-on-three powerplay and although, the shots ripped in, Giants got one man back and just before they were to return to full strength, Martinelli dropped the gloves on Robert Farmer, but he more than held his own as the pair shared five minute fighting penalties.
Two more blatant tripping infractions by the Giants gave Nottingham another five-on-three powerplay for 1.25 from 35.07. This time it worked a treat.
Mathieu Brisebois and David Clarke worked a switchback play across the blueline, with the French-Canadian blasting home and on the resulting five-on-four powerplay Brett Perlini, Farmer and Clarke hustled the puck to the back post where Mark Derlago picked his spot.
Two powerplay goals in 39 seconds and Panthers were back in front.
Another tripping penalty saw Panthers on the powerplay again and Evan Mosey collected the puck on their blueline, breezed past the defence and then took it close-range to slip in Nottingham’s fourth goal with less than two minutes to go in the middle period.
Three straight powerplay goals for Panthers and, although killing a delay of game penalty at the second break, Panthers were up 2-4.
Although they got their man back, seconds later Giants reduced the deficit when Garnett, who was to make some superb saves, especially in overtime, went down to the ice just a minute into the third period.
A tip-in after a shot from right point saw the home side equalise in the 49th minute.
A huge save by Whistle denied Nottingham on a last gasp two-on-one attack and the game went to overtime.
Perlini fired over the bar and then it was all Belfast during the three-on-three sudden-death session as Garnett pulled off some heroic blocks.
When Mokshantsev drove the left channel to feed Zack Phillips on the right, he dug the puck out of his skates and laid it back across for the advancing Dan Spang to snag the extra point for Nottingham at 63.49 to round off another dramatic night.
Panthers are next at home on Sunday against the Cardiff Devils at four o’clock. Good seats still available but tickets are selling fast.