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Fri 16 Sep 2022 - 10:21PM



The Nottingham Panthers were beaten 5-1 by Manchester Storm in Altrincham in their opening Challenge Cup group game of the season.

Panthers were without defenceman Mike Caruso as well as forwards Craig Puffer and Tanner Sorenson.

Young British d-man Archie Hazeldine kept his place in line-up, while Alex Dubeau got the start in goal with Jack Berry as back-up.

Welychka on target but Storm lead at first intermission
The hosts took the lead after only 48 seconds when a broken play saw the puck fall for Jesper Ohrvall on the doorstep to turn the puck post Dubeau.

Panthers had a chance short-handed as Stephen Anderson broke clear but saw his backhand effort hit the bar, while Jack Hopkins went close on the next shift.

Joe Hazeldine superbly converted a swift two-on-one break to put Storm 2-0 up at 11:14, before a bullet of a wrist shot from Brett Welychka - after he'd broken at speed into the offensive zone - closed the gap 76 seconds later (12:30).

Andrew Johnston then hit the outside of the left-hand post as Panthers finished the period strongly.

Storm strech their lead in second period
Panthers had early pressure in the second period with Jeremy Welsh having the best chance of the opening stages, but the Storm broke down the other end and regained their two-goal advantage as Zac Herrmann scored from a tight angle (27:21).

Manchester's fourth came on the powerplay when Stephen Johnson cut inside from the left unchallenged to fire past Dubeau (32:45).

Manchester add empty netter to wrap-up victory
Duggie Lagrone and Jeremy Welsh saw their efforts saved early in the third period, while Welychka and Matthew Myers went close on the powerplay.

With Panthers Head Coach Gary Graham gambling by lifting Dubeau for an extra skater on a late powerplay, the hosts wrapped the game up through Tyson Fawcett's empty-net goal.

Panthers return to action tomorrow night with Coventry Blaze the visitors to the Motorpoint Arena in the Premier Sports Elite League.

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