Panthers v Stars
The Nottingham Panthers
5 - 2
Kevin Carr got the start on home-ice once again for the Panthers opposite Alex Leclerc for the Stars.
Brett Bulmer (4.29) got the home-side off to the best possible when Mark Matheson sprang him down the right wing, the former Minnesota Wild forward cutting in before showing tremendous hands to freeze LeClerc in close and slide the puck over the line.
Gui Lepine was sent to the box (7.39) for hooking but the Panthers’ penalty kill unit stood firm to preserve the lead and they returned to full strength.
Two quick chances for Sam Herr, one from the right wing and one from the slot, were turned aside by LeClerc as the home-side pressed to extend their lead.
Carr had to be alert late in the period to preserve the lead. The Panthers’ netminder flashing his glove to deny the Stars shooter, just after Brett Bulmer had delivered a big hit inside the defensive zone, to send the hosts into the first intermission holding a one goal advantage.
Dundee tied the game early in the second period when Justin Maylan (21.35) applied the finishing touch after Carr had initially made a save on a Stars’ wraparound attempt.
The Panthers went to their first powerplay of the night (23.22) but it was the Stars who had the best chance to forge ahead. The visitors breaking in two-on-one short-handed only to be denied by spectacular sprawling glove save by Carr, the Panthers’ netminder leaping across his goal crease to snare the puck.
Not long after the unsuccessful powerplay the Panthers did take the lead. Captain Sam Herr (28.42) skated out from below the goal line and roofed the puck, on the backhand, by LeClerc to make it a 2-1 game.
Ollie Betteridge and Robert Lachowicz were both the victims of larcenous saves by the Stars’ netminder. Ollie being denied by a sprawling blocker save before Lachowicz saw his effort snared out of the air when it looked destined for the back of the goal.
The visitors killed another Panthers’ powerplay (35.25) and the hosts went into the second intermission holding a slender one goal advantage.
LeClerc had to be in top form to deny Dylan Malmquist his first professional goal early in the third period before the Panthers went onto another powerplay (43.15) but much like their others it was unsuccessful, Jon Rheault coming the closest to scoring but the Stars’ netminded turned his effort at the top of the crease aside.
Shortly after returning to full strength the Stars tied the game, Anthony Beauregard (47.14) on hand to deflect a pass beyond Carr and into the back of the goal.
It didn’t take long for the Panthers to re-establish their lead though as just 39 second later Jake Hansen has the puck in the back of the Stars’ goal. The mid-season signee staying red hot by taking advantage of a friendly bounce from behind the boards, after Georgs Golovkovs shot had been deflected wide, to slide the puck into the gaping cage.
Hansen (51.28) doubled his tally for the night, this time with the teams skating four-on-four, when he beat LeClerc through the five-hole to give the Panthers a two-goal advantage.
A combination of Carr and defenceman Danny Fick helped to keep the Panthers’ lead at two shortly after Hansen’s second goal, Carr getting most of a shot on his goal but it squeaked through only for Fick to throw himself to the ice and sweep it to safety.
Dundee pulled their netminder inside the last two minutes but it was the Panthers who hit the back of the goal, Brett Perlini (58.52) firing home from centre-ice to seal the two Elite League points for The Nottingham Panthers.