Nottingham Panthers 3-1 Manchester Storm (Elite Series) 06.04.21
After two defeats in a row for Nottingham Panthers and two successive wins for Manchester Storm after the opening weekend of Elite Series it was perhaps a shock victory for Nottingham tonight as the Panthers won their first match of the competition at the third time of asking.
Nottingham got off to the perfect start when Christophe Boivin (0.49) scored his professional goal to put the home side in front, the forward putting in the extra effort to pick up a rebound and force it over the line on his backhand.
Manchester soon got back into the game on a five-on-three powerplay opportunity, Ciaran Long (6.41) scoring from in close to move himself clear at the top of the goal scoring charts.
With both netminders in fine form there was no further scoring in the first period and the teams went into the second frame locked at one goal apiece.
After the restart, great determination along the boards by Lewis Hook drew a powerplay opportunity for the Panthers and Brendan Ellis (25.40) made sure they capitalised with a laser from the point that only had eyes for the back of the net.
Nottingham netminder Ben Bowns had to come up big with his right pad to deny former Panther Joseph Hazledine midway through the period.
Manchester were gifted a late chance on the powerplay but the Nottingham penalty killers stood firm to keep the lead heading into the final frame.
Just 11 seconds into the third period Lewis Hook raced down the left wing and ripped a wrist shot high over the glove of Bonar and into the back of the Storm net to give the Panthers a two-goal lead.
Manchester responded to the Nottingham goal by piling on the pressure but a combination of stellar play from Bowns, who made an incredible pad stack save, and desperation defence, Dominic Talbot-Tassi doing everything in his power to deny an empty net wraparound chance with Bowns stranded, kept the Panthers ahead.
The Storm pulled their netminder Bonar in favour of the extra-attacker inside the final two minutes but to no avail and the Panthers picked up their first win of the Elite Series on Tuesday night.
Next up for Nottingham is Sheffield Steelers on Saturday night.
*Main image @KarlDenham a great win for Nottingham against the early pace-setters.