Panthers Win Thrilling Opener In OT

Nottingham Panthers 4-3 Guildford Flames (Elite League) 10.09.22

The Nottingham Panthers came from behind to secure a thrilling 4-3 overtime victory against Guildford Flames in their Premier Sports Elite League opener at the Motorpoint Arena.

With netminder Alex Dubeau lifted for the extra skater, Andrew Johnston scored an equaliser with 69 seconds remaining before Mike Hammond netted the game-winner 28 seconds into the extra period.

Panthers were without defenceman Mike Caruso who was missing with a minor injury, which meant GB youngster Archie Hazeldine came into the line-up.

Dubeau got the start in goal with Jack Berry as back-up, while Eamon McAdam got the nod for Guildford.

The visitors took the lead shortly into the first period at 2:32 as Sam Marklund produced a neat backhand finish on the breakaway.

Guildford’s speed proved tricky for Nottingham in the opening stages, but Gary Graham’s side grew into the period and Craig Puffer saw his instinctive shot saved.

Duggie Lagrone and Adam Brady went close in quick succession, but it was the Flames who led at the first intermission.

Panthers turned it around with two goals in nine second-period minutes, as first Puffer fed Tanner Sorenson at the backdoor who went top shelf for the equaliser (26:55).

Hammond’s perfect drop pass set-up Adam Brady and his deflected shot beat Eamon McAdam to put Nottingham ahead (35:43).

But Guildford hit back before the end of the period as Ryan Tait cut inside from the left and fired past Dubeau to tie the game at 2-2 at 38:01.

Dubeau produced a superb save from Brett Ferguson’s shot at the backdoor after the Flames broke two-on-one, but Guildford took the lead moments later through Peter Crinella’s shot from the slot (43:53).

Panthers equalised with just over a minute remaining as a six-on-five play worked for a second week in a row. JC Brassard set-up Andrew Johnston, who took the puck round McAdam for a breath-taking equaliser (58:51).

Nottingham needed only 28 seconds of overtime to secure the extra point, as Brett Welychka fed Hammond from the right to slot in the winner.

Panthers return to action later today as they travel to the Skydome to face Coventry Blaze (5:30pm face-off).

*Main image @PanthersIHC ice action as Flames strike the Panthers goal.

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