Panthers lose but coach got a reaction from his players

The second leg of their Belfast road-tri[p ended in a second defeat for the GMB Nottingham Panthers (5-2) but there was marked improvement in the way the team played.

Coach Corey Neilson had meetings with the players after Friday’s loss and made the team watch the game over on video.

David Clarke was flown out to join the team after the arrival of his son on Friday night and Jeff Dimmen, a long term injury victim was also in the line-up on Sunday. With Miika Wiikman again starting in nets, Stephen Schultz was the ‘healthy scratch’.
Sunday’s game was battle all match long and Giants had to come from behind to defeat a much more physical Panthers’ team.

After Alex Nikiforuk dropped the gloves and won his tilt with Quesnele at a third minute face-off Nottingham were buzzing and when their pressure forced Giants into a penalty it was just over when Erik Lindhagen dished the puck inside off the right wing for Jeff Brown to fire home at 6.49.

Both goalies were busy but the first period ended with Nottingham’s noses in front.

Nottingham saw off a big five-on-three powerplay at the start of the second period but soon afterwards the home side were level with a shot off the right wing upstairs in the 25th minute.

Six minutes later they took the lead on a shot which ricocheted in off a D-man’s stick and Belfast were in front at the second break.

They stretched the advantage when they put a rebound off the bar away at 45.16 and when they broke away for their fourth one-on-one of the game they finally beat Wiikman with a short-handed goal when they converted the chance at in the 54th minute. On that same powerplay Nottingham got one back with Jeff Brown in front of the goal and Dan Spoang firing on target hard from the right circle.

But when Panthers failed to get the puck out of their zone less than two minutes later Giants worked it to the back door where Rutherford bagged his hat-trick. The game ended in bitterness when Chris Lawrence was speared to the ice with just under four minutes to go. The referee made no call but the retaliatory slash on Higgins saw the whistle blow and eventually both players were sent for early showers on five-and-game penalties.

5 - 2
Shots on Goal
Shots on Goal
Goals by Period
Goals by Period