Storm v Panthers
1 - 2
The Nottingham Panthers
Two special teams goals in the first period were enough for THE NOTTINGHAM Panthers to claim two Challenge Cup points in Manchester on Saturday night.
Jackson Whistle got the start in goal for the Panthers, who were without the services of Alexis Loiseau (upper body), opposite Matt Ginn for the Storm.
Nottingham killed an early penalty to Brett Perlini (0.58) but the Storm continued to press and Danny Fick had to make a great defensive play to disrupt their best opportunity on a two-on-one break-in.
Manchester took the lead (10.01) when Adam Hughesman managed to bungle the puck into the back of Whistle’s net.
A little over five minutes later the Panthers had the chance to tie the game on the powerplay (15.03) and they made no mistake. Just six seconds into the man advantage Jon Rheault found a loose puck off the face-off and fired it by Ginn to tie the game up.
Less than two minutes later the Panthers took the lead. With Jens Jakobs in the box for slashing (16.28) Sam Herr sprang Ollie Betteridge short-handed and the GB international beat Ginn on the glove side (17.00) to send the Panthers into the first intermission with a one goal lead.
A scoreless second period saw Matt Ginn almost single-handedly keep the Panthers at bay.
The Storm netminder denied Sam Herr on a breakaway inside the first minute of the period before turning aside another effort from the former AHL minutes later at the top of the crease.
Ollie Betteridge and Brett Bulmer combined nicely to tee up William Quist in the left-wing face-off circle but he, like Herr, found Ginn in obdurate form and the netminder blockered his shot away.
Youngster Joe Hazeldine was the next Panther to be thwarted by the Storm netminder. The GB prospect firing a quick shot from in close only for Ginn to get over and hold on to the puck to send the teams into third period as they started the second.
As Ginn stole the show in the second it was Jackson Whistle who took centre-stage in the third.
The GB international somehow batted the puck out of the air with his stick before locating it and holding on in an early scramble around his cage to preserve the Panthers’ lead.
As the period passed the halfway stage the Storm were granted a five-on-three opportunity but a combination of disciplined Panthers’ penalty killing and solid netminding from Whistle, absorbing any shots fired his way, the visitors returned to full-strength unscathed.
Storm pulled Ginn in favour of the extra attacker and after Whistle broke up a cross-crease pass attempt with an alert poke-check the home side called their time-out with under a minute to play.
The Panthers kept the Storm to the outside until Dallas Erhardt fired a puck through heavy traffic. Whistle somehow located the puck and snared it out of the air with just two seconds remaining to keep the Panthers in the lead.
Brett Perlini won the resulting face-off and the Panthers brought the two Challenge Cup points on offer back to Nottingham.
Photo credit: Andy Burnham