Devils v Panthers
1 - 2
The Nottingham Panthers
THE NOTTINGHAM Panthers returned to winning ways on Saturday night in Cardiff Bay as new signing Jake Hansen hit the back of the net on his debut.
Kevin Carr got the start in goal for a full strength Panthers outfit opposite Ben Bowns for the Devils.
Both teams felt each other out during the opening ten minutes, neither side able to create any clear-cut scoring opportunities, and it was the home side who had the first opportunity to open the scoring when they went to the games first powerplay (12.21).
The Panthers' penalty kill unit stood firm though and just 28 seconds after returning to full strength Jake Hansen (14.49), making his debut, used his speed to break in down the left wing and his shot across goal found nothing but net to put the visitors into the lead.
There was no further scoring or incident in the period and the Panthers went into the first intermission holding a one goal lead.
Kevin Carr had to be alert early in the second. First making a blocker save as Haddad aimed for the top corner then going post-to-post before slamming his left pad down on the goal line to stop a puck bound for the back of the goal.
Nottingham thought they'd got their first powerplay of the game, only for it to be taken away after a discussion between the officials, but just over a minute later they did go on their first powerplay when Bryce Reddick (29.36) was sent to the box for tripping.
Ollie Betteridge came closest to doubling the Panthers' lead, picking up the puck behind Bowns' goal the GB international spun out to to the top of the crease only to see his shot get deflected up into the netting and the Devils returned to full strength.
Dylan Malmquist delivered a crunching hit along the boards as the period wound down but with neither side troubling the scorers the Panthers went into the third period still one goal to the good.
Carr was called into action early in the third period, having to stay big when former KHLer Charles Linglet bore down on goal before shooting on the backhand.
The Panthers doubled their lead when Brett Perlini's shot from the left wing face-off circle (45.32) proved too hot to handle for GB colleague Bowns, the puck taking a deflection off of his glove en route to the back of the net.
Cardiff hit the post before going onto a third period powerplay (51.28) where they got themselves back into the game, Matias Sointu (51.18) applying the finishing touch touch to a goalmouth scramble.
The Devils then broke in behind the Panthers' defence only for Carr to make a stunning poke-check, catching the Cardiff forward off guard and preserving the Panthers' slender advantage.
Another powerplay came the way of the home side (54.39) but Carr and the Panthers' penalty killers stood firm and the visitors returned to full strength.
Cardiff pulled their netminder to no avail as the Panthers held out to snap their seven game losing streak and return to the win column.
Photo credit: Andy Burnham