Panthers v Flames
0 - 2
Guildford Flames were the visitors to the Motorpoint Arena as The Nottingham Panthers closed out their 2018/19 regular season on Saturday night.
Patrick Munson got the start in goal for the Panthers, who welcomed Dylan Olsen back to the line-up after two months on the sidelines, opposite Travis Fullerton for the Flames.
The Panthers’ netminder had to be alert early on as the Flames broke in two-on-one, staring down the Guildford forward as the returning Olsen took away the cross-ice pass.
Brett Perlini, Chris Stewart and Robert Farmer dominated the Guildford zone for over a minute but couldn’t find a way past Fullerton in the Flames goal. Dylan Olsen then almost marked his return with a goal only to be denied by the crossbar as he snuck in from the blue line.
Munson had to be alert late on as the Flames pressed to take a lead into the first intermission, but he flashed the leather to send the sides into the break scoreless.
Perlini, Farmer and Stewart once again combined early in the second period, Stewart springing Perlini on a partial breakaway only for his back-hand effort to be turned aside by Fullerton.
Guildford killed a too-many-men penalty before Josh Tetlow brought a raucous Motorpoint Arena to it’s feet with a monstrous hit below the goal line.
Nottingham went short-handed when Hurtubise was called for tripping (32.11) but it was the Panthers who had the best scoring chance, great work along the boards allowed Robert Lachowicz to tee up Luke Pither but he could only find the shoulder of Fullerton and the game remainined without a goal as the Panthers returned to full strength.
Munson had to be at his acrobatic best to deny former Panthers Erik Lindhagen, the Panthers’ netminder doing the splits to make a left pad save on the Swede’s back-hand shot from the slot.
The Panthers almost went into the second intermission with the lead after Chris Stewart put the puck on a plate for Robert Lachowicz, only for the GB forward to cruelly be denied by the iron as the teams once again went into the break scoreless.
The teams traded chances early in the third period, the best falling to forward-come-defenceman Kevin Henderson, the Panthers’ player/assistant-coach creating space with a stutter step on the blue line before seeing his slapshot turned aside by Fullerton.
When the Flames Jesse Craige was called for holding (51.45) the Panthers saw a route to taking the lead, a stubborn Guildford penalty kill made sure that route was blocked though, and the teams went into the final six minutes with nothing to separate them.
Tim Billingsley was sent to the penalty box for tripping (54.39), then Ollie Betteridge received a 2+10 for boarding (56.23) but the Panthers killed the penalties just as Patrick Munson made a larcenous glove save.
It was to be heartbreak for the home side though as Jamie Crooks snuck one by Munson (58.48) to bring the away fans to their feet.
Nottingham pulled Munson in favour of the extra attacker as they went in search of an equaliser but a turnover on the blue line saw Guildford put the puck into the empty net (59.50) to send the Flames back to Guildford with the two Elite League points.
There was still time for Alex Guptill to drop the gloves with Corbin Baldwin, the Panthers’ man getting the better of the bout after landing a couple of resounding blows.