TCW Panthers Review – 6th/7th September 2008

Two great performances, nine goals, six fights and most important of all, four points. When you take into account that the Panthers went into the weekend two imports short against possibly the two toughest teams in the league it makes the maximum points haul more impressive.

Both performances had everything that we’ve been missing for the past few seasons, grit, determination and sheer will to win. Add to this the ability to stand up to any provocation thrown at us and all in all it was an extremely pleasing weekend for this fan.

Newcastle was a gutsy game. The Vipers possess an outstanding netminder in Andrew Verner and they have him to thank for keeping us down to three goals. However, the Vipers came at us with all their usual intimidation, only this time we stood up to them. Everyone expected Ndur to go with Payette, what none of us in attendance expected was Joe Graham, Nick Toneys and Brendan Cook to all stand up and be counted as well. It’s fair to say that the latter three came off worse in their brawls, Ndur scored a win over his long term nemesis, leading to the Panthers fans singing ‘Payette is a turtle’ for the rest of the match.

Along with the brawn there was skill. The forwards seemed to slice open the Vipers defence at will while the defence did a good job of keeping the more skillful Newcastle forwards at bay. Johan Molin was absolutely superb and unlucky not to score wit a one on one chance.

It took until the 55th minute to wrap up the victory, with David Clarke pouncing at the back post to tap the puck home for the winner. A good, hard fought victory that was appreciated by the large travelling support. The only concern we had in the car on the journey back was would we have enough left in the tank for the following days game against Hull………………

We needn’t have worried. Hull’s indiscipline proved to be their downfall (amazing considering Coach Rick Strachan’s instruction were found in the dressing room after the game. Key to winning the game point 1. Discipline!) The events of the first period are documented in the post below so I won’t repeat it here, except to say KOZAK YOU DESERVE A BAN YOU SENSELESS GOON!

Hull continued to take dumb penalties throughout the second period and they were made to pay. Five (count em one, two, three, four, five) powerplay goals, in one period, us, how? It’s great isn’t it! David Clarke was quite simply awesome, it’s looks like his spell abroad has made him an even better player. His second which he smashed in was brutal!

The third was pretty much pedestrian compared to the rest of the game, a goal by Meyers after some great work from Cook and Bergin laying down the law on Bernier were the highlights.

So that was the weekend that was and a perfect start. While tougher challenges are to come we really couldn’t have asked for more. With Jade Galbraith and some bloke called Tessier still to arrive the future looks bright. Let’s face it, it could have been much worse. We could have been stuffed 3-1 at home by a team with a rent-a-keeper in the first game!

One final, serious point though. Would the happenings of Sunday have transpired if we were running with a two referee system? My guess is no.

Highlights from the Vipers game can be found here

Pictures from the Stingrays game can be found here

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