Panthers 6 Blaze 2

If anyone at the game last night watched the first eight minutes of the game and left, then saw the scoreline this morning, they would no doubt be blinking in disbelief! However after the start we made to the game I expected us to get quite heavily beaten. In that first eight minutes we iced the puck three times, gave away a deliberate offside, gave away a penalty from which the Blaze opened the scoring and generally looked like we had never even met!
The opening goal came on a Blaze powerplay. KSP failed to hold on to the puck and Adam Calder made no mistake. Panthers got a powerplay of their own and equalised through Kevin Bergin firing high over Peter Hirsch from an angle. After that the Panthers stepped up, Bruce Richardson will still be wondering how he missed the open net he was presented with, but it lead to the powerplay from which Panthers took the lead, Sean McAslan firing into an unguarded net after a sublime backhanded pass from Jade Galbraith fooled Hirsch. The third was a shorthanded effort, Cameron Mann robbed the point man (Weaver I think) and skated in alone on Hirsch and beat him easily. It was a great finish and Mann really showed some wheels getting away from his marker. So 3-1 Panthers at the end of the first, Thommo’s puce coloured face showing how he felt about his side being two goals behind!
The second was a goalless period, but after a scrappy start the rest of the period produced some fine attacking hockey from both sides. It was like watching basketball at times such was the end to end nature of the play. Both netminders had to be at their best to keep the period scoreless, making several top drawer saves.
Early in the third Blaze pulled a goal back, Greg Chambers skating along the right wing before cutting in and firing an angled shot across KSP which hit the inside of the post before crossing the line. The teams traded penalties and Panthers looked under pressure, but the defence held firm. McAslan made the game safe with four minutes remaining, capitalising on a defensive mistake to skate in and beat Hirsch. The floodgates then opened, a slick one time passing move between Mann and Galbraith left Marc Levers with an empty net to fire into, Hirsch smashing his stick on the crossbar in frustration. Then it was 6-2, Corey Neilson firing in low to compound Hirsch’s miserable few minutes.
A great win for Panthers, but they have to do the same tonight in Coventry if we are to return to the Elite League summit.


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