Panthers v Stars
4 - 1
Hockey returned to the Motorpoint Arena on Saturday night as The Nottingham Panthers took on the Dundee Stars in a huge game in the EIHL playoff race.
Patrick Munson got the start in goal for the Panthers opposite Pontus Sjogren for the Stars.
The Panthers went to an early powerplay when Johan Andersson was called for hooking (3.57) and it was only because of the brilliance of Sjogren the home side didn’t forge ahead. The Stars’ netminder going east-to-west to make a wonderful glove save on Dylan Richard, who seemingly had a wide-open net to shoot into.
Sjogren once again stood tall, this time to deny Chris Stewart from between the circles, and the Stars returned to full strength.
The away side found themselves on penalty kill duty once again when they were caught with too-many-men on the ice (6.16), but they once again escaped unscathed.
Jaynen Rissling gave the Panthers the lead when his slapshot from the point (8.28) beat a screened Sjogren to make it 1-0.
It didn’t take long for the Panthers to double their lead, Sjogren making an initial save on a shot from the wing but the rebound ricocheted in off Alex Bolduc (11.17) to give the Panthers a two-goal lead after a quick video review.
Dundee thought they’d pulled one back (14.11) but upon further inspection it was ruled Munson was interfered with and the goal was washed out to send the Panthers into the first intermission with a two-goal lead.
Mark Hurtubise was called for elbows early in the second period (21.27) and after he returned to the ice, following a successful penalty kill by the Panthers, he forced Sjogren into a smart pad save on a wraparound attempt.
The Panthers squandered a five-on-three powerplay opportunity as the game approached it’s halfway point, but with the teams skating at even strength Dylan Richard gave the home side a three goal cushion. His wicked wrist shot beating Sjogren high on the glove side (34.07) after good work from Robert Farmer and Jon Rheault.
Nottingham cushioned their lead even more before the end of the period. Luke Pither found Chris Stewart all alone at the backdoor on a truncated powerplay and the former NHLer made no mistake finding the twine (38.08) to put the Panthers four goals to the good going into the third period.
A hit along the boards on GB youngster Josh Tetlow saw Tim Billingsley drop the gloves with Matt Marquardt (44.31) in an even bout that brought a bumper Motorpoint Arena crowd to their feet.
The Stars forced Patrick Munson into a fine double save as they looked for a route back into the game but the Panthers’ netminder looked more assured as the game went on.
Dundee went on a full two minute five-on-three powerplay when Hughes & Lepine were sent to the box for roughing (55.14) and Munson went east-to-west to preserve his shutout bid as the visitors moved the puck around dangerously.
However, no sooner had the Panthers returned to full strength the visitors got on the board. Brian Hart firing a slapshot through heavy traffic (57.20) to make it 4-1.
There was to be no further scoring in the game and The Nottingham Panthers took the two Elite League points on offer.