Nottingham Panthers 3 Braehead Clan 4

I said to my mate Paul in The Castle before the game that I had a bad feeling about last night’s game and sadly my instinct was to be proved right!
Brahead started the game all guns blazing while I think Panthers were still in the changing room! The first Clan goal was very fortunate though, the puck taking a bad bounce off the back of the net which left Craig Kowalski stranded as Dominic Noel tapped into the empty net with just 51 seconds on the clock. Braehead were well on top and dominated the early stages and they silenced the home crowd with further goals from Bobby Chaumont and Cody Bostock to give the Clan a three goal lead with less than ten minutes gone. Panthers needed a change in momentum and it came as Alex Penner no choiced Cedric Bernier into fighting. Bernier had the upper hand early in the fight put Penner threw a couple of bombs which put Bernier on his backside. Penner received a fair 2+10 instigation penalty. Buoyed by Penner’s win it was while short-handed that Panthers pulled a goal back , Jade Galbraith sent clear to beat JF Perras on the backhand. Panthers had the upper hand for the rest of the period but couldn’t reduce the deficit any further so Clan took a 3-1 lead into the first period break.
The second was a different story altogether as Panthers dominated from start to finish, but despite putting immense pressure on the Clan defence and Perras they held firm. The story of Panthers luck came as Dustin Sproat’s rocket of a shot was gloved by Perras, a quite outstanding save and it was still 3-1 Clan at the second interval.
Panthers continued to press in the third and their pressure was finally rewarded. A huge scramble around the net saw the puck cross the line, the goal credited to Billy Ryan after initially being given to David Beauregard. Perras was furious with the goal and I thought that referee Andy Carson had given him two misconduct penalties as he tapped his hips twice while looking at Perras, however the only penalty given was a 10 minute misconduct to Clan coach Bruce Richardson for abuse of official. Panthers pressed forward looking for the equaliser but ran into penalty trouble and with Danny Meyers and Jonathan Zion in the box Clan restored their two goal advantage as former Panthers Brendan Cook scored. Panthers still pulled another back as David Clarke scored on the powerplay, but a grandstand finale was denied as Matt Myers went to the box for hooking with 2.15 left in the game, and despite Clan being penalised themselves with 30 seconds left it was too little, too late and Panthers went down to their first defeat of the season.
Clan are everything I expected from a Bruce Richardson team, gritty, hard-working, skillful going forward and excellent defence and netminding. On that performance they will be challenging, they will give many teams a bloody nose this season.
As for Panthers it will hopefully give them a bit of a kick up the backside and realise that scoring more than the opposition is only a good tactic if the opposing team doesn’t have the systems to shut it down like the Clan did. However, no need to panic just yet, but the next two games away to Belfast and home to Sheffield should give us a decent idea of where we stand.

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