Nottingham Panthers 2-3 Belfast Giants *pens (Elite League) 20.02.22
The Nottingham Panthers suffered a heart breaking loss against the Belfast Giants at the Motorpoint Arena on Sunday afternoon.
Kevin Carr started in goal for Nottingham opposite former Panthers stopper Jackson Whistle for the Giants.
Nottingham’s man between the pipes brought the Motorpoint Arena to it’s feet with an incredible stick save, with the goal gaping he reached across and somehow denied the Giants’ forward who was all alone at the backdoor.
A quickfire double from Robbie Baillargeon (15.41 & 15.43) put the Panthers ahead before the end of the first period, they did have to kill a penalty called against the same player to leave the period with the lead and they did just that.
The teams exchanged powerplay opportunities in a close fought second period but with both netminders in stubborn form no goals were scored.
Belfast came out all guns blazing in the third and Scott Conway (48.36) pulled a goal back for the visitors just before the halfway point of the period.
Nottingham earnt themselves a powerplay late in the period but couldn’t take advantage, killing the penalty gave Belfast late life & they tied the game with just 0.4 seconds remaining on the clock.
The teams couldn’t be separated overtime and Belfast secured the extra point by scoring the only goal of the shootout.
Next up the Panthers have their eyes firmly on Wednesday night’s Premier Sports Challenge Cup Semi Final in Belfast.
Despite defeat on Sunday, Nottingham have picked up seven out of the last eight points on offer to them, and the one-off Semi-Final in Northern Ireland presents a chance to advance to a showdown finale where the first piece of silverware on offer in the 2021/22 season will be up for grabs.
Mark Matheson will have a full quota of “non-homegrown” players at his disposal with Kevin Domingue (lower body) medically cleared to return to the line-up, the forward did not ice at the weekend with the coaching staff not wanting to mess with a winning formula but could return for Wednesday’s match.
Stephen Lee (lower body) will be the only absentee through injury.
*Main image @PanthersIHC Lane misses in the shootout as Nottingham are beaten.