Panthers v Giants
The Nottingham Panthers
2 - 0
THE NOTTINGHAM Panthers and Belfast Giants locked horns for the second time in under 24 hours on Sunday with the home-side looking to make it four-point weekend.
Kevin Carr once again got the start in goal for the Panthers opposite Shane Owen for the Giants.
Just 3.34 into the game Gui Lepine and Matt Pelech dropped the gloves, the Panthers’ defenceman getting the better of the encounter to bring the Motorpoint Arena to it’s feet.
Nottingham went to an early powerplay (3.57) but Brett Bulmer’s one-timer that was blocked en route to goal was the best chance and Belfast returned to full strength unscathed.
Ollie Betteridge powered to the net from the left wing, after great work in the defensive zone by Mark Matheson and Danny Fick sprang the GB international, with a combination of Owen and a scrambling Giants’ defence preventing the Panthers from taking the lead.
The game then saw it’s second fight (14.05) when Josh Tetlow dropped the gloves with Bobby Farnham after a conversation below the goal line escalated.
Owen had to be alert to turn aside Fick’s one-time blast from the blue line and the teams went into the first intermission as they began the game, tied at zero.
Five minutes into the second Kevin Carr made his first save of the period when Kevin Raine snuck in from the blue line and fired on the Panthers’ netminder after a cautious start for both sides.
Carr had to be alert once again as Liam Morgan snuck in behind the Panthers’ defence only to be denied by the man between the pipes.
Just after the game crossed the halfway stage Mark Matheson picked the puck up on the blue line and fired a shot through heavy traffic and Brett Perlini’s (30.28) re-direction out in front saw the rubber elude Owen and find the back of the net to give the Panthers a one-goal lead.
Moments after the goal Belfast broke in two-on-one but Carr stood tall to preserve the lead before Rheault and Herr exchanged chances on Owen, the Giants’ netminder flashing the leather to keep the Panthers’ captain at bay and send his team into the second intermission trailing by just one-goal.
An early powerplay came the way of the Panthers in the period when Ben Lake (43.04) was sent to the box for kneeing Mark Matheson, Adam Deutsch had the man advantage’s best chance with a one-timer but his effort was blocked and the Giants returned to full strength.
With just under ten minutes remaining in the game Brett Perlini (50.06) was adjudged to have committed a slashing infraction and was sent to the penalty box, a goal line clearance from Gui Lepine and solid netminding from Carr saw the Panthers’ escape unscathed though and they went into the games final stretch still holding their one-goal lead.
Belfast pulled their netminder inside the final two minutes but it was the Panthers who found the back of the net, Captain Sam Herr firing into the empty net to seal a four point weekend.