All to play for in the cup - 3-3 first leg in Braehead

GMB Nottingham Panthers were hit by illness to Kristian Kudric and drafted Logan MacMillan on to the defensive corps for the start of the Challenge Cup quarter-final against the Braehead Clan. Panthers were also missing Geoff Waugh and Jeff Dimmen from the “D”.

Miika Wiikman was back in the line-up in nets after missing last weekend for family reasons and he was in sparkling form with a string of top drawer first period saves as both goalies were kept busy. Jeff Brown and Ollie Betteridge helped set up Matt Carter for the only goal of the first period in the 14th minute.

A quick-fire start saw Alex Nikiforuk get the last touch in a scramble round the net after just 39 seconds of the second period but Clan hit back with their opening goal at 22.50.

Clan hit the post then needed a huge save at the other end to stay within a goal of the Panthers and moments later Zajkowski pulled off a double save to deny Panthers again. With the score at 1-2 after the second period, Panthers had edged in front on the shot count 21-19 but two goals in less than a minute at 43.37 and 44.34 gave Clan the lead for the first time in the tie.

The first and only penalty of the game came at 53.07 when Ahsberg of the Clan was thrown out on a five plus Game for elbows. Panthers pressed on the powerplay and after one huge save they tied the tie with Matt Carter’s second of the game with the man-advantage at 57.45.

A 3-3 final scoreline after the first leg means it’s all to play for in next Wednesday’s second leg in Nottingham, with Sheffield awaiting the winners in the semi-final.

Meanwhile, Panthers travel to Cardiff in the league on Saturday and tackle Midlands rivals Coventry at home on Sunday at four o’clock (tickets now on sale).

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Shots on Goal
Shots on Goal
Goals by Period
Goals by Period