GMB Panthers shut-out Cardiff in style in Wales on Saturday night

The GMB Nottingham Panthers built on the response they’d shown in the mid-week road cup game at Braehead and dominated top of the table Cardiff in style on Saturday night in Wales ending the game 0-8 with a 39 shot shut-out for Miika Wiikman.

In a solid all round performance from start to finish and still missing Waugh, Dimmen and Clarke through injury Panthers took a first minute lead and never looked back.

Andy Sertich’s shot hit a leg and looped up after 51 seconds and Brian McGrattan batted home from waist height on the backhand and after a Brad Moran shot through the middle channel rebounded to the right wing Stephen Schultz snapped home a second goal at 1.52.

Great work by Robert Farmer and McGrattan built more pressure on the Devil’s net and with the big guy screening the keeper Schultz made room for himself to whip home his second and Panthers’ third just past the five minute mark. Murdy took over from Bowns in nets for the home team.

With Panthers on penalty-kill duty they broke down the right wing and Sertich blew a fourth goal home on the short-side at 12.45 and it was 0-5 just before the break when an Alex Nikiforuk shot rebounded onto the pads of Dan Spang and in at 19.34.

Devils came out hitting in the second but Kristian Kudroc, back from sickness, threw the biggest hit of the night and soon after Panthers broke into the attack zone two-on-one. Matt Carter’s attempt to pass to Ollie Betteridge got stuck in his feet so he tried a snapshot instead and Panthers were by six at 27.50.

Cardiff built some pressure as the period drew towards a close and coach Corey Neilson took his time-out to calm things down and it worked. Soon afterwards Panthers had an odd-man rush and Brad Moran finished off the right wing at 38.52.

The third period turned into an exhibition game as Miika Wiikman (man of the match) and the skaters protected the shut-out while at the other end Jeff Brown hammered home the final nail with a hard low shot for an eighth goal at 58.39.

Panthers had to withdraw Matt Carter through injury during the game but otherwise it was a deservedly bright night in Wales.

Pics: Richard Murray

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