Panthers make history- win Continental Cup

The GMB Panthers went into the game against Rittner Buam knowing a point would make history. Instead of keeping their eager fans on the edge of their seats, they ran out comfortable 4-1 winners over the Italian hosts. And the Panthers have their power play and penalty kill units to thank after both put in incredible performances to earn this coveted trophy.

The opener came through Matt Carter on a PP goal timed at 03:53 and the Panthers seemed to be growing in confidence until they were forced to deal with their first Penalty Kill. They handled it admirably but Buam took control of the game for a while. The danger was completely repelled and the GMB Panthers looked comfortable in the process. Then, right before the break, Rittner gave up a penalty for too many men on the ice, which the Panthers would punish them for in the 2nd period.

24 seconds into the period, Chris Lawrence struck, doubling the Panthers lead to 2-0. Rittner responded well however, hitting the post and forcing good saves out of Miika before a spilled rebound was tapped in by their forward. Shortly after this, the Panthers went down to 5 on 3 for 1:56 with Rittner looking for the equaliser. Nottingham’s PK unit was completely equal to the challenge though, one shot hitting the iron being the only serious chance Buam could muster.

Right after that 5 on 3 was killed, the GMB Panthers showed Rittner how to punish a penalty when Farmer shot low on the PP to increase the Panthers lead to 3-1 going into the final period. Rittner, needing 3 unanswered goals in the final 20 minutes, weren’t able to muster the necessary pressure to worry a strong Nottingham defense. In fact, the GMB Panthers looked the more dangerous side for much of the third with the Buam netminder having to be alert to several shots to keep the Italians in the game.

To increase that pressure, Buam pulled their netminder with over a minute left in the game and Robert Farmer made them pay. An empty netter goal was enough for the GMB Panthers to seal the win and make history as the first British winners in Europe in the modern era.

Photo Credit: Karl Denham

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