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Thu 15 Dec 2022 - 9:44PM



The Nottingham Panthers came from 2-0 down to beat Belfast Giants 3-2 in the first leg of the Challenge Cup quarter-finals at the Motorpoint Arena.

Panthers were without defencemen Duggie Lagrone and Craig Moore, but Mike Caruso returned to the line-up after injury.

Archie Hazeldine and Jack Hopkins remain on international duty with GB U20s in Lithuania. Alex Dubeau got the start between the pipes with Matty Bloor as back-up.

Giants lead through late first-period goal
Gabe Bast's shot from the right circle produced a good pad save from Dubeau, who also had to be alert to tip away shot from David Goodwin.

At the other end, Luke Ferrara shot just wide while Jeremy Welsh was denied from close range.

The Giants took the lead on a late first-period powerplay thanks to Steve Owre's tip to redirect the puck past Dubeau (19:50).

Welsh on target but Giants retain one-goal advantage
Darik Angeli went coast-to-coast down the left-wing to fire in Belfast's second (29:18), but Panthers quickly found momentum with their best spell of the game.

Giants cleared a puck off the line and moments later, a Jeremy Welsh bullet from the top of the right circle closed the deficit following a neat pass from Adam Brady (30:34).

David Levin and Luke Ferrara forced pad saves out of former Panthers netminder Jackson Whistle as Panthers went in seach of an equaliser.

Welsh and Welychka goals give Panthers the edge
A superb stretch pass from Levin found Welsh to fire in his second from the right circle (45:07).

Panthers took the lead six seconds into a powerplay as Brett Welychka jumped onto a rebound after Levin's shot was saved (50:35).

Tanner Sorenson went close to scoring Nottinghan's fourth while Dubeau saved well from Goodwin's close-range shot.

Click here to see a gallery of photos from tonight's game from Panthers Images.

The two sides will meet again on 4th January in the SSE Arena in Belfast for the second leg.

Fife back-to-back this weekend
Panthers are back in Elite League action on Saturday with a trip to Fife Flyers.

The two sides meet again Nottingham on Sunday. Face-off is 6pm but doors will open at 2pm with fans able to watch the World Cup final - which kicks off at 3pm - on the huge jumbtron at centre-ice.

Click here to buy Panthers tickets.