After a 5-2 win over the same opposition in Nottingham last weekend, the Panthers were beaten 6-2 on the road last night as Cardiff Devils returned the favour in the Elite League to provide their opponents with a thumping.
Alex Dubeau started his third successive game in goal for Nottingham with Matty Bloor as back-up, while Duggie Lagrone (injury reserve) was the only absentee in the Panthers line up.
The visitors to Wales had a chance inside the opening minute when Devils netminder Ben Bowns denied Craig Puffer following a neat pass from Mike Hammond while at the other end, Dubeau had to be at his best to deny Josh Brittain twice from close range.
The Devils then took the lead just past the five-minute mark as Marcus Crawford’s shot fell to Justin Crandall, who slipped the puck past Dubeau at his near post (5:21).
Puffer, David Levin and JC Brassard had chances as Nottingham had two successive powerplays, but Devils took control as Cox scored twice in just over 90 seconds, tipping in a shot from Josh Batch (16:12) before sneaking the puck over the line from close range (17:56).
After an early chance in the period for Hammond, Stephen Anderson reduced the deficit when he poked the puck past Ben Bowns following a goalmouth scramble (22:37).
The Devils however regained their three-goal advantage with the second period coming to a close, as Justin Crandall put the puck on a plate for Jake Coughler to fire a one-timer past Dubeau from the right circle (39:43).
Riley Brandt and Josh Waller combined to set-up Ben Davies who did well to stretch for the puck before firing past Dubeau off the post (47:55).
Brittain reacted first to a loose puck on the doorstep to score Cardiff’s six on his backhand (50:59), while Bowns produced an outstanding save to deny Hammond on a breakaway in the closing stages.
Luke Ferrara set-up Jordan Kelsall for a sweet wrist shot to beat Bowns in the closing stages to score Nottingham’s second of the night (59:21).
That defeat leaves Nottingham sixth in the standings of the Elite League table with attention drawn to the Challenge Cup game on Sunday against Manchester Storm. It’s set to be a special occasion on Sunday at the Motorpoint Arena with the Kids for a Quid game a 4pm face-off.
The two sides go head-to-head with qualification for the knockout stages on the line. A win for Nottingham will see them through to the next round.
*Main image @PanthersIHC not to be as Nottingham felled by the Devils.