Guildford Flames 4-4 Nottingham Panthers (Elite League Playoffs Quarter Final 1st Leg)
The Nottingham Panthers & Guildford Flames played out an eight-goal thriller in the first leg of their Premier Sports Elite League Playoff Quarter-Final.
Kevin Carr returned to the line-up and got the start in goal for the Panthers opposite Kevin Lindskoug for the Flames.
Sean Richards (6.24) gave Nottingham an early lead when he stole in down the left-wing & beat the Flames netminder down low with a smart shot.
The teams exchanged powerplay opportunities throughout the rest of the period but both penalty kill units, and netminders, stood firm and it was the visitors who went into the first intermission holding a lead.
Turner Ripplinger (25.04) pulled Guiildford level early in the second but Richards (25.40) got his second of the game less than 40 seconds later to put the Panthers back into the lead, the forward looking to feed Matt Lane on an odd-man-rush but the puck found it’s way in off of a Guildford defenceman.
Guildford took advantage of an ill-advised pinch in at the blue line when Mike Grocock (30.48) tied the game at two. However, it was the Panthers who went into the final frame holding a lead Christophe Boivin (33.07) fired home on the powerplay.
With Aaron Thow in the box for hooking Ian McNulty (45.07) tied the game up once more just over five minutes into the third period.
Both teams continued to throw caution to the wind in search of a first leg advantage and Nottingham forged ahead for a fourth time when Matthew Myers (53.29) tipped a shot from the blue line beyond Lindskoug but once again they wouldn’t be able to keep it that way.
Inside the last two minutes Owen Griffiths (58.16) found twine to ensure the game finished all square meaning it’s all to play for when the two sides meet inside the Motorpoint Arena Nottingham on Sunday afternoon.
Face off at 4pm with Nottingham confident they can finish the job off and make finals week in five days time, the Panthers hugely boosted by the return of Kevin Carr & Jordan Kelsall back to the line-up on Saturday night but, with bodies still on the sidelines, the club say they will still need their vocal army of fans behind them to get them to the dance and chance for sileverware next weekend.
*Main image @PanthersIHC goalmouth action from an eight goal thriller.