The Nottingham Panthers took on Manchester Storm in their fourth Challenge Cup match on Saturday night. Here's how they got on…
After losing to Manchester Storm 5 -1 away in their last Challenge Cup match in September, Nottingham Panthers came out onto the ice looking to redeem themselves. But they weren't the only team hunting a win, as for the first ten minutes of the opening period Storm had full control of the puck and took the first goal by Tyson Fawcett in a powerplay. This was enough to push the Panthers into gear and take back control within the last ten minutes of the first period, with the home team equalising with a goal from Jack Hopkins two minutes before the whistle blew.
With adrenaline pumping through the team, the Panthers came back out into the second period ready to dominate. Unfortunately there was an altercation between Storm’s 11, Cam Critchlow, and Panthers defenceman 28, Dougie Lagrone. Critchlow checked Lagrone from behind, causing Lagrone to fall to the ice motionless for some time. After the thumbs up from the medical staff, Lagrone was stretchered off the ice, causing a stir between fans as Storm's Critchlow was given a match ban and a five-minute penalty for the check from behind. Thankfully Lagrone is fine and has been checked over by the medical team.
Given how serious the injury could have been to Lagrone, the Panthers teamed up to really push for their next goal, with Brett Welychka, 94, smashing the puck into the back of the net eighteen minutes into the second period - giving the Panthers a 2-1 advantage.
Both teams came out to win but Panthers played their hearts out to take the game for their boy Lagrone
It wasn’t long before Jeremy Welsh, 15, scored goal number three a minute after Welychka. The game was getting a bit forceful from both sides with players slamming each other against the plexiglass. Ten minutes left of the second period and 75, Mathieu Gagnon, dropped his helmet to fight Storm’s 14, Chays Ruddy. Gagnon took down Ruddy to the delight of the Panthers fans, with both receiving five minutes for fighting and ten minutes for taking off their helmets to fight.
With eight seconds left of the second period, Storm's Zac Herrmann slammed his stick in rage against the wall as Panthers scored their fourth goal of the night through Jeremy Welsh.
Back into the third period and Storm hit the puck past Panthers netminder Jack Berry but it was too late as the whistle had already blown and the goal was ruled out. For the rest of the final period, time seemed to fly by as Panthers had full control of the puck for the majority of the third.
The final buzzer sounded to give Panthers the final score of 4-1. Both teams came out to win but Panthers played their hearts out to take the game for their boy Lagrone. Netminder Jack Berry was awarded man of the match after saving 25 shots on goal. You couldn’t have asked for a better game than this - it had it all - and in the end it was a well-deserved win for the Panthers.
Nottingham also won against Storm in their next Challenge Cup match, beating the side 3-2 in overtime the following day.
You can catch the Nottingham Panthers at their next home Challenge Cup game against arch rivals Sheffield Steelers on Saturday 22 October
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