Panthers battle but come up short in third period at Belfast

The GMB Panthers twice battled back from two goals down but when Giants did it for a third time in the third period it was a bridge too far for Nottingham and with netminder Miika Wiikman pulled for the extra skater late in the game Giants stretched it further for a 7-4 win.

Two goals in 30 seconds of the ninth minute should have put the in-form home side in a commanding position but Robert Farmer fed Robert Lachowicz on the left wing boards and he threaded the puck to the front for Brian McGrattan to turn in for a 2-1 scoreline at 11.37.

Giants bagged a powerplay goal in the 17th minute after a pass across the crease for a tap in but Nottingham came back again with Jeff Brown firing home after good work by Matt Carter at 18.19.

Brown then tipped in from Andy Sertich’s shot from the blueline early in the second period and the scoreboard was tied at 3-3.

Giants again took the lead soon afterwards with Riley looping his own rebound over the prone netminder but Panthers came back again with Dan Spang’s shot going into, out of, and over the glove and in - just as Giants got a man back from the penalty box.

The third period started with the score tied at 4-4 but the home side smuggled the puck from the right wing boards to the front where Shields hammered home close range and four minutes later in the 55th minute Riley got his second when he hustled through the middle channel to give Belfast their third two goal lead of the game.

This time they held on and when Panthers pulled Wiikman for an extra skater on a late powerplay although the visitors piled on the pressure the home side held out and a kindly bounce saw former Panther Higgins escape with the puck to seal the deal on the empty-net at the other end.

7 - 4
Shots on Goal
38
Shots on Goal
18
Goals by Period
3,1,3
Goals by Period
2,1,0
Powerplays
1/5
Powerplays
0/2