Panthers v Flyers
The Nottingham Panthers
4 - 3
THE NOTTINGHAM Panthers returned to winning ways on Saturday night as Sam Herr's late powerplay goal hit the back of the net to bring the Motorpoint Arena to it's feet after his mid-week rallying call.
Kevin Carr got the start in goal for a full strength Panthers' line-up opposite Adam Morrison for the Flyers.
An early opportunity presented itself to the Panthers when the Flyers were penalised for a line-up violation (0.18) after they iced a player that wasn't listed in their starting six for the opening face-off. The home side made them pay on the resulting powerplay.
Brett Perlini's face-off win found it's way to Mark Matheson and he fed Adam Deutsch (2.08) whose shot across Morrison, from the top of the right ing face-off circle, hit the back of the net to bring the Panthers faithful to their feet.
However, the lead didnt last long. Sam Jones burst in down the left wing before feeding Bari McKenzie (4.39), who won his battle with his man on the doorstep, and he poked the puck through the wickets of the Panthers' netminder.
Fife went to their first powerplay of the game when Sam Herr (9.45) was called for tripping, that powerplay quickly became a five-on-three opportunity when Ollie Betteridge (10.37) was adjudged to have held his opponents stick.
Carr came out to the top of his crease to deny the Flyers as the home side returned to full strength, the Panthers then saw out the rest of the penalty kill without any incident and returned to full strength.
The Panthers' netminder had to be alert when a stumble in the neutral zone allowed the Flyers to break in but he made a smart stick save through traffic to keep the teams tied at one going into the first intermission.
Jordan Kelsall, Joseph Hazeldine and Robert Lachowicz caused some havoc in Morrison's crease, after Deutsch's shot from the blue line, as the home side looked to take back the lead but somehow the puck didn't cross the line.
Testimonial man Lachowicz did get the puck into the back of the bet (28.01) but it was waved off for being played with a high stick.
With Brian Connelly in the box for interference (29.48), getting the rough end of a call during a net front battle, Adam Deutsch delivered a crunching hit as he stood his man up on the blue line before the Panthers returned to full strength.
No sooner had they returned to five skaters the Panthers found themselves on the powerplay (31.58) and it took them just ten seconds to restore their lead. Jake Hansen, continuing his hot start with the club, found a loose puck at the top of the crease and roofed it on the backhand into the back of the goal. Initially waved off by an official on the spot the call on the ice was overturned after a video review and the goal was given.
Carr made a huge save, extending his right pad, to preserve the lead but with the period coming to a close the visitors did find an equaliser. A turnover in the defensive zone allowed Mike Cazzola (38.29) to skate in alone on Carr and send the teams into the final period tied at two.
The Flyers took their first lead of the night when Sam Jones (41.03) fired a wrist shot through heavy traffic, and past the unsighted Carr, early in the third period.
James Isaacs and Gui Lepine got into a shoving contest but thought better of dropping the gloves with he big French-Canadian when offered the chance and both were sent to the box to sit two minutes each for roughing. With the sides skating four-on-four Morrison had to be alert to deny Morrison on the doorstep before Brian Connelly (45.33) broke into the zone and drew a four-on-three powerplay opportunity for the hosts.
Fife would, however, kill that penalty and a subsequent one to Isaacs (48.27) to preserve their lead as the game entered it's final stretch.
The Flyers' netminder would have no such luck when Jon Rheault (56.57) applied a deft touch to Mark Matheson's shot from the right wing, the puck finding a hole to tie the game at three apiece.
Dylan Malmquist (57.54) drew a powerplay with some strong work along the boards and Head Coach Tim Wallace used his time-out to draw up a plan.
That plan came to fruition when Sam Herr (59.15) found a soft spot between the face-off circles, Brian Connelly’s picture-perfect pass finding the Panthers’ Captain’s tape and he made no mistake firing home the late game winner to bring the Motorpoint Arena to it’s feet.