Blaze 4 Panthers 7

After a titanic battle against the Giants on Saturday surely Panthers couldn’t go to the Skydome and take all the points from last season’s champions could they? Damn right they could! Panthers continued where they left off from Saturday night, taking the game to the Blaze, dominating and showing the sort of grit and desire that we’ve craved from Panthers teams in many a long year.
The first was a goal-fest that finished 4-3 to Panthers which was unfair on Panthers domination, out-shooting the home side 22-7 and hitting the pipework 3 times. Cruickshank opened the scoring for Blaze on the powerplay before the outstanding Matt Myers equalised. Blaze went 2-1 ahead short-handed as Craig Kowalski fumbled the puck to Dan Carlson who fed Luke Fulghum who made no mistake. Panthers were soon level as David Clarke poked home Corey Neilson’s shot as Blaze netminder Brett Jaeger couldn’t hold. Panthers went in front for the first time when Jade Galbraith finished smartly on the backhand after Jonathan Zion’s superb pass. However Blaze equalised once again, Luke Fulghum with a wrap-around that Kowalski should have done better with. No matter, Panthers were ahead yet again as Ian McDonald was given the freedom of the offensive zone after Cruikshank and Brian Lee’s comedy clash, he picked his spot brilliantly. 4-3 at the 1st break and the crowd had chance to catch their breath!
The Panthers controlled the second, the defence and Kowalski tightened up and Panthers stretched the lead, first with a trademark Corey Neilson blast to make it 5-3, then David Beauregard made it 6-3, poking home while on his back. With the Blaze crowd silenced the Panthers fans started singing “There’s more noise in a library”, one plucky Blaze fan countered with “When did you last win the league?” only for the assembled masses to sing “1956, 1956” the “We won the league in ’56” Great fun.
I was expecting a war in the third but it never came. Blaze did pull one back through Brian Lee, but Panthers always looked comfortable and totally in control and their dominance was sealed three seconds from time as Billy Ryan hit the empty net from his own defensive zone to make the final score 7-4.
This was a great performance, we showed 100% grit and determination for the whole 60 minutes. Matt Myers was once again hitting like a freight train, Danny Meyers and Steve lee were excellent in defence and we spent long periods camped out in the Blaze defensive zone. We also easily killed two long periods of 5 on 3 Blaze powerplays, which was great to see.
In conclusion a great and very pleasing weekend, more of the same would be lovely.

Highlights of the game from Blaze TV can be found here.

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