The Belfast Giants exploded into life early in the first period with a Scott Conway double inside the first five minutes.
With Brady Norrish in the box for cross checking Ben Lake at the Panthers crease (58s), Jordan Boucher crossed the blue line and squared the puck across the slot to Scott Conway who wristed home at 1:53. (1-0)
Conway struck again at 2:51 when his shot trickled under Nottingham goalie Kevin Carr with a slight helping hand over the line from a defenceman’s stick. (2-0)
The first period barrage on Carr continued as Jordan Boucher followed Ciaran Long with breakaway efforts with six minutes remaining.
There was reprieve for the visitors with five left as Darcy Murphy took a holding call from referee Matt Rose behind the Panthers crease. After a period of pressure, Sam Ruopp’s diving chop sent the puck north, however as Murphy re-emerged a Mark Cooper turnover in the zone was picked up and wristed home from the left circle by Robbie Baillargeon. (2-1)
Belfast were caught out early when Jeremy Welsh took possession and skated behind goalie Tyler Beskorowany from the drop, lining the puck to Edwin Hedberg in the mid slot who tied the game at 21:05. (2-2)
Kevin Raine was then called for hooking at 26:44 during a puck battle down the barrel of the Giants net, as Nottingham continued to apply the pressure.
Nottingham’s JC Brassard sat for interference at 33:42, but despite decent work in front of Carr from the Giants, the score remained deadlocked.
The Giants were handed 1:53 on the penalty kill to open the final period, as Scott Conway sat for cross checking with 7 seconds remaining.
A turnover in the Giants zone sent the Panthers on the breakaway, as Christophe Boivin played a 1-2 with Edwin Hedberg on his left before wristing his side into the lead at 45:59. (2-3)
Panthers goalie Kevin Carr comfortably dealt with the Giants’ offensive rushes throughout the mid period stretch, and as the clock ticked, the ever-growing sense of urgency around the arena increased.
Sam Ruopp came agonisingly close to Belfast’s equaliser with five minutes and change remaining, when his shot from the blue line clipped the crossbar and bounced down and out. A resulting Panthers breakaway was swallowed up by Beskorowany.
A brilliant piece of individual skill from Jordan Boucher saw the puck agonisingly ring the crossbar again with 3:30 remaining, as the Giants continued to press for their equaliser.
However, as Tyler Beskorowany was pulled by Adam Keefe in favour of the extra skater, Matthew Myers scored on the empty net at 57:50 to conclude proceedings. (2-4)
We reset and we do it all over again! Your Belfast Giants take on the Nottingham Panthers at the SSE Arena on Saturday night, face off is at 7:00pm. Tickets are on sale HERE!