Panthers v Giants
3 - 2
The Nottingham Panthers looked to return winning ways on Sunday night as the title chasing Belfast Giants visited the Motorpoint Arena.
Patrick Munson got the start in goal for the Panthers opposite Tyler Beskorowany for the Giants.
Brett Perlini got the first chance for the Panthers but found Beskorowany equal to his effort before Munson was forced into his first save of the game by Blair Riley.
The first powerplay of the night went the way of the home side when Kendal McFaull (8.33) was called for hooking, however, the Giants stood firm and returned to full strength.
McFaull was once again in the thick of the action, this time giving the Giants the lead (12.13) with a wicked wrist shot from the top of the right wing face-off circle.
Chris Stewart had the Panthers best chance at an equaliser, after being sprang on a partial breakaway by Brett Perlini, but he just couldn’t stuff the puck beyond Beskorowany on the doorstep as the former NHLer pulled a move in tight.
The Giants went on their first powerplay when Alex Bolduc (18.55) was penalised for a high stick, the Panthers saw off the time remaining in the period and went into the first intermission trailing by one.
Nottingham killed the remainder of Bolduc’s minor penalty to begin the third period, Luke Pither then forced Beskorowany into a tough save as he found a loose puck at the top of slot.
Jon Rheault (26.06) was called for tripping to bring the Panthers penalty killers out onto the ice but once again they stood firm and the home side escaped unscathed.
Robert Farmer, creating his own opportunity by skating out of the corner, then Dylan Richard, shooting from the left wing, tested Tyler Beskorowany but found the Giants’ netminder in an obdurate mood.
The Panthers broke in two-on-one but Luke Pither’s cross-ice feed bobbled over the stick of Justin Kovacs denying him the opportunity to shoot and as play went up the Panthers end Robert Lachowicz (34.34) was called for tripping.
Things were evened up on the ice when Josh Roach (36.03) received a holding penalty, as he tried to stop Dylan Richard skating in short-handed, and just after the Giants returned to full strength things were evened up on the scoreboard.
Alex Guptill added to league leading tally (38.16) when he tipped Tommy Hughes point shot into the Giants goal to sent the teams into the second period break deadlocked at one apiece.
The Giants forged ahead early in the third when Steve Lee was sent to box for delay of game (41.06) and just 11 seconds into the resulting powerplay the away side took the lead. Dustin Johner applying the finishing touch (41.17).
Less than three minutes later the Panthers were back level. Hard work by Alex Bolduc saw the puck find it’s way to man of the match Ollie Betteridge who turned and fired the puck low into Beskorowany’s goal.
Tommy Hughes then brought the bumper Sunday night crowd to their feet with a massive open ice hit before Tim Billingsley was sent to the box for cross-checking (54.29). Belfast then killed a penalty to Jim Vandermeer (56.18) after a brief period of four-on-four action and the hooter sounded on the third period with the teams tied at two meaning it would take overtime to find a winner.
Just before the halfway point of the extra period Chris Stewart found Brett Perlini with a world class feed and the GB international tipped it high into the Giants’ goal to seal the extra point for the Panthers.