A Scottish Reflection

It’s Monday morning and as I write this we (we being three fellow Panthers fans & myself) are enjoying a very pleasant train journey from Edinburgh back to Nottingham. (If you are considering coming to Scotland in the near future let the train take the strain, it really is a very relaxing way to travel).

One of the advantages of the long train journey is that it gives me chance to reflect on a fantastic three days of hockey for the Nottingham Panthers. Three games, three wins, 20 goals for, 4 goals against, a penalty kill percentage of 91.67% (2/24) and a power play conversion of 30% (3/10). In anyone’s book that is a truly impressive set of statistics.

It is also reflective of how the Panthers played over the weekend, any one of the three games against Dundee, Fife or Edinburgh had the potential to be a banana skin but the team showed exactly why they are top of the league, dominating large parts of each game and going through the gears when needed to secure the six points on offer.

Friday in Dundee got us off to the perfect start, after dominating the first period but having nothing to show on the scoreboard, Panthers made the Stars pay in the 2nd, scoring three unanswered goals including a beauty from youngster Josh Ward. The Stars replied on the power play to make it an uncomfortable final period until Kelsey Wilson, who was outstanding all weekend, made the game safe les than two minutes from the end.

The best game of the three was in Kirkcaldy on Saturday. A large crowd had turned up at the old barn in Fife, and the atmosphere was raucous during the first period. A very open 20 minutes of hockey saw Panthers leading 3-2. The Flyers have a very quick side and they were looking dangerous every time they came forward and were cheered on by a very noisy & partisan local crowd. However in the second period Panthers turned on the style to take the crowd and the Flyers right out of the game. There are arguments over Panthers fifth goal, it was kicked in by David Ling and it shouldn’t have stood but Fife let that affect their game and Panthers took advantage to score three more before the end of the period to make it 8-2. The final period and energy was conserved but Panthers still managed to hit the twine twice to make it a final score of 10-2, a quite ruthless display from the away side.

Murrayfield was the venue for the final game of the weekend as a now tiring Panthers team took on the in-form Edinburgh Capitals who themselves were full of confidence after a superb away victory against Sheffield. After starting like an express train (Panthers were two goals up a little over two minutes in) tiredness started to show amongst the ranks. Caps took advantage, pulled one back on the power play and for the next 30 minutes were the better side. I must admit to being incredibly anxious, the Caps were pressing for an equaliser and looked liked they might get it until Jonathan Weaver put a beauty into the top corner on the PP to relieve the pressure (and the nerves). Shortly after Matt Francis made it 4-1 and that was the points secured. A further two goals in the final period ensured a 6-1 victory and a six point weekend.

A few words for our hosts, it was nice to come away and speak to hockey fans who are knowledgable, friendly but most of all not full of bitterness and vitriol like some. The fans of Stars, Flyers and Capitals are an absolute credit to their clubs. Partisan and vociferous most definitely but respectful with it. Other fan bases could certainly learn a thing or two from them, and I include our own in that.

Finally, the team. We are, this season, a team in every sense of the word. They play for each other and not one of them had a poor game this weekend.
With six games to go we now stand on the verge of history but it is by no means a certainty considering the games we have left. However, in my opinion we deserve to be where we are. The stats show we are currently the best, just a few more performances to take us over the line and hopefully we’ll have the silverware to prove it. Surely our time is now, we just have to grab it.

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4 Responses to “A Scottish Reflection”


  1. 1 Stuart March 4, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    Nice write-up Jono, glad you enjoyed your trip to Scotland. Hope that those three games and six points will prove pivotal in the Panthers making history, come the end of the season. I don’t see anything stopping them bar themselves.

  2. 2 Gary Brown March 4, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    As usual a great article Jono , anyway how about having some wrinklies on your TV show ? 🙂

  3. 3 Andrea March 4, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    Great even-handed report. Me and the hubby went to all three games and were impressed with the lot of them. Hard to pick a Man of the weekend but Wilson edges it! We too found the fans passionate but fair and friendly. I am increasingly concerned about the spiteful interactions between ourselves and ‘other’ teams. Having watched the Panthers for 32 years the nasty side has been emerging for some years now probably spurred on by t’internet. Maybe it’s time to create some positive links with other teams Supporters Clubs and try and kill some of the poison at its roots? Anyhow well done Jono and team!

  4. 4 Colin Clark March 5, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Having been to Scotland for this weekend’s games, I couldn’t agree more with your considered account of events. Only one small gripe, Caps should put more meat in their stovies.


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