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Sat 3 Feb 2024 - 9:35PM

3RD FEBRUARY 2024: PANTHERS 4-5 BLAZE

3RD FEBRUARY 2024: PANTHERS 4-5 BLAZE Top Image

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The Nottingham Panthers secured a point in a thrilling game but were beaten 5-4 by Coventry Blaze after penalty shots at the Motorpoint Arena.

Panthers were without Ollie Betteridge, Myles McGurty, Josh Tetlow and Tyler Welsh. Netminder Rok Stojanovic got the start in goal with Mike Robinson as back-up.

Roy scores short-handed in entertaining first period
Blaze took an early lead when Tyler Kirkup was left all alone in-front of the net and slid the puck under Stojanovic (3:42).

But Panthers hit back quickly as Hugo Roy stole the puck in the neutral zone and raced away to fire past Taran Kozun short-handed (5:37).

Nottingham had the better of the rest of the period with Jordan Kelsall, Alexander Lunsjö, Otto Nieminen and Didrik Henbrant all going close.

Luciani's powerplay goal reduces the arrears
Henbrant had a couple of good chances early in the second period, but Blaze scored a pair of powerplay goals to take control.

Former Panther Brady Norrish's neat shot across Stojanovic into the top corner (28:27) was followed by JD Dudek's close-range finish (29:50).

Panthers closed the gap on the powerplay when Anthony Luciani's shot from left-point was deflected past Kozun by Norrish (33:18).

Lemay scores twice in quick succession
Panthers turned the game on its head with two Mathieu Lemay goals in 92 seconds midway through the third period.

After a beauty of a one-timer from the right-circle on a delayed penalty (47:17), the Panthers forward followed that with a powerplay goal after good work from Henbrant and Westin Michaud (48:49).

But Blaze were soon level when Alessio Luciani converted a two-on-one break just as a Panthers powerplay came to an end (51:59).

Blaze secure extra point with penalty-shootout win
Panthers had the better of overtime and Lemay had three chances to win it, which included hitting the bar and a wonder save from Kozun.

In the shootout, Panthers were unable to beat Kozun while Dudek and Danny Kristo scored for the Blaze to secure the extra point.

Part two in Coventry tomorrow
The two sides meet again tomorrow night for part two of the weekend double-header.

Face-off at the Skydome Arena between the Blaze and the Panthers is 5:30pm.