Panthers v Giants
The Nottingham Panthers
2 - 3
Sunday evening saw The Nottingham Panthers return to the Motorpoint Arena to start a four game homestand, after five games on the road in the last fifteen days, to take on the Belfast Giants.
Michael Garnett started in goal for The Nottingham Panthers, who where without the services of Jon Rheault (lower body) and Alex Bolduc (precaution), opposite Tyler Beskorowany for the Giants.
The Panthers came out the hotter of the two sides, Jacob Doty and Kevin Henderson getting early pucks on goal. When the Giants made their first foray forward Tyler Biggs put his body on the line to stop the shot getting through to Michael Garnett.
With Josh Roach sent to the box for delaying the game (3.32) Nottingham went to their first powerplay of the night, Mark Hurtubise came the closest to opening the scoring but a bobbling puck meant he didn't get all of his one-timer and it went just over the bar.
On their next powerplay oppurtunity the Panthers would open the scoring, with Lewis Hook in the box for tripping (8.33) Brett Perlini ripped home a one timer (8.51) to bring the crowd to it's feet.
Giants rattled the bar on the shift after the goal as they looked to respond immediately but it was Nottingham who closed out the period the stronger of the two teams. Doty, Henderson and Vankleef all going close but finding Beskorowany in top form.
Robert Farmer broke in two-on-one with Jacob doty inside the first minute of the second period but saw his shot turned aside by the Giants netminder.
The Panthers killed a penalty to Luke Pither before going onto the powerplay themselves (25.03) and doubled their lead in the process. Dylan Olsen (25.56) crept down the left wing before beating Beskorowany through the smallest of gaps above his shoulder to make it 2-0. Belfast asked for the goal to be reviewed but to no avail.
Just as after the first Panthers goal the Giants went straight down the ice and rattled the bar in their to pull a goal back.
After Jacob Doty was called for slashing (30.50) the Northern Irish side started to build some momentum, forcing Michael Garnett into multiple saves through traffic to keep the Panthers lead in tact.
Alex Guptill thought he had a breakaway after a great defensive play by Josh Tetlow sprang the EIHL's leading goalscorer but he went just offside and the period ended with The Nottingham Panthers enjoying a two goal lead.
Early third period penalty trouble for the Panthers saw the Giants climb back into the game, with Tyler Biggs (42.13) and Luke Pither (43.25) both in the box for hooking Belfast scored their first goal through Darcy Murphy at the backdoor just eight seconds into their five-on-three opportunity.
Belfast tied their game on their next venture down the ice, Josh Roach's slapshot from the point deflected home by Dustin Johner to make it 2-2 (44.48).
The Panthers got a powerplay of their own when Roach was called for hooking (48.49) but once again found Tyler Beskorowany in imperious form.
As the pace of the game slowed, with neither team wanting to make a costly mistake, clear cut opportunities where few and far between and with no further scoring the Panthers went to overtime for the second time in as many nights.
And for the second time in as many nights the Panthers would fall in overtime, Darcy Murphy scoring into an empty goal with Michael Garnett caught out of position.