Flames v Panthers
6 - 2
The Nottingham Panthers
THE NOTTINGHAM Panthers returned to Elite League action on Saturday night as they made the journey down south to take on Paul Dixon's dangerous Guildford Flames.
Kevin Carr got the start in goal for the Panthers, who were without Adam Deutsch (lower body), opposite Travis Fullerton for the Flames.
The Panthers were granted an early powerplay when Calle Ackered (2.41) was sent to the box for hooking but they couldn't take advantage with the extra man and the home side returned to full strength.
Guildford began to press after getting Ackered back from the box and Kevin Carr had to be alert to keep the game tied. First denying the Flames on a breakaway before flashing the leather to deny Ackered who had pinched down to the left wing face-off circle.
Mark Matheson (10.33) put Nottingham into the lead just after the game passed the halfway mark. His blast from the blue line, with the Panthers skating six-on-five due to a delayed penalty on Steve Lee, finding it's way into the back of the Flames' goal through heavy traffic.
The Panthers had to kill a penalty to William Quist (13.27), Gui Lepine shutting down Guildford's best chance at the backdoor with an alert defensive play, to maintain their lead going into the first intermission.
Guildford killed off the remaining 1.07 of a Panthers' powerplay opportunity that carried over into the second period before squandering two powerplays of their own.
Shortly after their second powerplay came to nothing the home side tied the game. With Fullerton on his way to the bench on a delayed penalty to Brian Connelly the Flames' TJ Foster cut inside from the right wing and fired into Carr's goal (33.08).
Just after killing another Flames powerplay the Panthers restored their lead. Sam Herr powered down the left wing and fired high over the glove of Fullerton (39.35), popping the water bottle in the process, to send the visitors into the second intermisson in front by one.
Mark Matheson laid a big open ice hit to start the third period before Kevin Carr saved from former Panther Steve Lee.
The dangerous Flames powerplay had an extended opportunity when Josh Tetlow (48.09) was sent to the box at the back end of a penalty to Danny Fick. Just two seconds remained on the man-advantage when Calle Ackered (50.07) rifled a one-timer into the Panthers' goal to tie the game at two.
51 seconds later the Flames took their first lead of the night. Josh Waller (50.58) going coast-to-coast before firing a wicked wrist-shot into the roof of the goal.
Things went from bad to worse from there for the Panthers. Jamie Crooks (57.25) skated unopposed from the neutral zone and fired through a screen to double the host's lead.
Ian Watters (58.17) and former Panther Erik Lindhagen (59.42) added empty net goals for the Flames to ensure the two Elite League points on offer went home with the Surrey based side.