Flyers v Panthers
3 - 3
The Nottingham Panthers
The Nottingham Panthers took on the Fife Flyers on Saturday night to get their PredictorBet Playoff Quarter-Final underway.
Patrick Munson got the start in goal for the Panthers opposite Shane Owen for the Flyers.
An early penalty against the Panthers (1.18) saw the Flyers take an early, Bari McKenzie on hand to swipe a loose puck by Patrick Munson (3.01).
Things got even better for the home side after Owen denied Guptill's wraparound attempt, Joe Basaraba's one-timer (9.17) going high over the blocker of Munson to double their lead before the halfway mark of the first period.
It didn't, however, take the Panthers long to get on the board themselves. With Caro Finucci in the box for tripping (9.42) Robert Farmer and Mark Hurtubise played catch behind the Flyers' goal before the latter fed Chris Stewart, positioned at the top of the crease, and the former made no mistake guiding the puck through the five-hole of Owen (11.33).
With the period winding down Fife restored their two goal advantage, Mike Cazzola going bar down through heavy traffic on the powerplay (16.59) but once again the Panthers answered quickly. Chris Stewart sprang Dylan Richard down the right wing and the forward pulled the sweetest of moves to deke around Owen and slide the puck over the line (17.47) to send the Panthers into the first intermission down by just one goal.
Shane Owen had to alert early in the second period as Brett Perlini tried to catch him out from the left wing before Gauthier got to his own rebound only to find Patrick Munson equal to the task at hand.
The Panthers' netminder then showed lightning quick reflex to go post-to-post and get his right pad down as Evan Bloodoff attempted a backhand wrap-a-round.
Nottingham killed a face-off violation penalty to Mark Hurtubise (24.41), the Panthers' forward finding Owen equal to his shot after exiting the penalty box.
Stewart then sent Perlini through on a breakaway but the GB international saw his backhand attempt turned aside by Owen, the same combination then forced their way to the net once again but Owen would not beaten.
Panthers' top goalscorer Alex Guptill had a chance to tie the game before the end of the period after he pulled away on a partial breakaway but Owen stood tall and the home side went into the second intermisison with a one goal lead.
A cagey start to the third period saw the first shot of note (45.22) easily dealt with by Munson, Tommy Hughes then crunched a Flyer behind the goal and the game jumped into life. Owen saving from Guptill, after great work down the right wing by Luke Pither, and then Munson making a great save at the backdoor, tracking Bari McKenzie's cross-ice feed onto the shooter's stick.
Neither team wanted to make a mistake going into the final ten minutes of the game but Robert Farmer forced a turnover in the Flyers' zone and he found Brett Perlini all alone in the slot and he fired his wristshot through the wickets of Owen (54.04) to tie the game at three.
The sides saw out the final two minutes without further incident leaving it all to play for when the puck drops inside the Motorpoint Arena at 4.00pm tomorrow.