Coventry Blaze 0-2 Nottingham Panthers (Elite Series Semi Final 1st Leg) 27.04.21
The Nottingham Panthers put one toe into the Elite Series Playoff Final on Tuesday evening.
Jackson Whistle started between the pipes for the Panthers opposite Shane Owen for the Blaze.
Much like the last meeting between the teams on Sunday afternoon Nottingham dominated the early play before an ill-advised penalty threatened to undo their good work.
Unlike Sunday though the Panthers kept the Blaze powerplay unit at bay thanks to some stout defensive work and Whistle coming up with big saves when he was called upon.
It was more of the same after the penalty kill for Nottingham, enjoying the majority of the possession but unable to to forge ahead, whose best chance fell to Ollie Betteridge, following some terrific work by Robert Lachowicz to win the puck and spring his GB teammate, but his shot across the bows of Owen was turned aside and the teams went into the first intermission deadlocked at zero.
It didn’t take long for the Panthers to breakthrough in the second period.
Christophe Boivin fed Brett Perlini who’s one-timer proved too hot to handle for Owen and Kevin Domingue (22.08) was on hand to usher the puck over the line and give Nottingham a one-goal advantage.
Coventry got the chance to answer right back on the powerplay (23.46) but the best chance fell to the Panthers when Josh Tetlow picked a pocket on the blue line and skated in one-on0one with Owen, the big defenceman pulled a nice move but his effort was turned aside and the Panthers went about the business of extinguishing the Blaze’s man-advantage.
Garside and Boivin tested Owen further as the period wore on but he stood firm to keep Coventry in the game and the Panthers went into the final period holding a slender one-goal advantage.
Nottingham almost got their second of the game when Boivin, Perlini & Domingue combined to cause havoc in the Blaze goal crease but some desperation defence kept the puck out.
Coventry did threaten on occasion though as they looked ot get back into the game, Tristan Keck hitting the bar with a quick-shot from a face-off and later forcing Whistle into a sprawling save to keep Nottingham ahead.
The Panthers piled on the pressure on a late powerplay opportunity and whilst they didn’t score on the man-advantage it did let them build the momentum needed to double their lead before the end of the game.
Coventry turned the puck over to Christophe Boivin and he found an unmarked Austin Cangelosi (55.21) who beat Owen with a wicked one-timer.
The Blaze didn’t lack in effort trying to get themselves on the board before tomorrow’s (Wednesday April 27th) second leg but found Whistle in stubborn form, the netminder making a sparkling glove save en route to recording the tournament’s first shutout.
The result means Nottingham take a 2-0 lead into tomorrow’s game, face-off is at 7.00pm.
*Main image @PanthersIHC Jackson Whistle in action during victory over Coventry.