Panthers bite back against Edinburgh



Match Report: Andrew Reeves

The Nottingham Panthers were back again at Murrayfield in this weekend’s double header and were seeking vengeance after losing to the Edinburgh Capitals on Saturday night.

Very early on the Panthers were nearly gifted an easy goal when Capitals’ netminder Scott Reid (33) skated around the back of the net to clear the puck, but passed it straight to one of the Panthers’ players, who failed to capitalise on the gift.

The game started very lively with shots on both goals.  The Capitals’ fans shouted for a trip, but referee Neil Wilson ignored them and the game continued.

Within the first few minutes the Panthers’ tactics in this game became strikingly obvious when Guillaume Lepine and Capitals’ Evan Schafer (25) both received five minute penalties for fighting – was this a deliberate ploy, to take out one of the Capitals’ key defenders early in the game?  Panthers’ Billy Ryan also received a two minute penalty for slashing.

The Panthers’ first goal came just after five minutes had been played, scored by David-Alexandre Beauregard while the team were short-handed.

Just a minute later the Panthers received their third penalty of the game when Jeff Heerema received two minutes for hooking.

Then referee Neil Wilson was embroiled in a controversial penalty decision after awarding Capitals’ David Lomas (13) a two minute penalty for slashing after the Panthers’ netminder had made a great save and David had attempted to poke the puck out from him. The Panthers’ players all piled in to surround David and Chris St. Jacques (14), trying to intimidate them.

Following the faceoff, Chris St. Jacques (14) got a good shot on goal but the knee of one of the Panthers’ defenders saved the netminder from the shot.

At eight minutes, thirty seven the Panthers scored their second goal, while on the power play.  Jonathan Zion was the scorer assisted by David Clarke and Matt Myers.

The referee missed Panthers’ Corey Neilsen punching one of the Capitals’ players in the head behind the Panthers’ net.

Unfortunately, the referee then went on and failed to penalise the Nottngham Panthers for too many men on the ice.

Then the game got busy with Panthers’ Rob Bellamy receiving a two minute penalty for slashing, followed seconds later by the Panthers’ player coach, Corey Neilsen receiving two minutes for roughing while Capitals’ David Lomas received his second penalty of the night, two minutes for slashing.

The Panthers then scored their third goal. Jonathan Zion got his second goal of the night assisted by Jade Galbraith and Marc Levers.  Two minutes later the Capitals pull one back as Chris St. Jacques (14) took the puck over the blue line and made a neat little pass to Adam Taylor (7) who cut it into the net.

Just 18 seconds later, Panthers’ Jeff Heerema gets the Panthers’ fourth goal assisted by Matt Myers and Marc Levers. The Panthers’ fifth goal arrived two minutes later, scored by Robert Lachowicz, with assists by Marc Levers and Jade Galbraith.

So, the first period finished Panthers five – one Capitals.

After Scott Reid (33) took a shot straight in the face guard, he then skated to the bench to make some repairs and the referee became very impatient. This was bizarre, because player safety is paramount.

The Capitals were in the mood for a fightback and Chris St. Jacques (14) scored a goal assisted by Adam Taylor (7) and Evan Schafer (25), making it five-two

Just 30 seconds after the goal, Adam Taylor received an elbow in his face from Panthers’ Angel Nikolov, who was given a two minute penalty for the infringement.

Unfortunately, Jacques Perreault received a 10 minute penalty for misconduct when he challenged the referee for the elbow from the Panthers’ player.  The referee I think got that wrong.  The Panthers played hard, but  they also played dirty.  They wanted to win and didn’t care how they got the victory.

Ninety seconds later, Panthers’ Guillaume Lepine took a two minute penalty for roughing.

Panthers managed to score a sixth goal.  David Clarke was the scorer with assists by Robert Lacjowicz and Jonathan Zion.  Thirty seconds later, David Lomas (13) scored the third for the Capitals assisted by Bari McKenzie (72).  This was despite the Panthers’ netminder once again pushing his net off its moorings.

The Capitals went on the offensive and managed to rattle off four shots on goal. They were all saved but in all the goal mouth action Panthers’ Billy Ryan tripped his own team-mate, David Clarke, much to the amusement of the home fans.

The second period finished, Capitals 3 – 6 Panthers.

The third period became a goal fest, but first, surprise, surprise, a penalty for the Panthers, their eighth of the game. This time number eight Matt Myers received two minutes for hooking.

Panthers’ number five, David Clarke, scored his second goal of the night and the Panthers’ seventh, assisted by Jeff Heerema.  Then three minutes later, Jeff Heerema was the scorer, assisted by Jade Galbraith.

Then it was the turn of the Capitals to turn up the heat with goals by Iain Bowie (8) and Nick Fanto (18) within seventy five seconds of each other making the game 8 – 5 to the Panthers’.

Four minutes, six players and three goals later, the Panthers got their eleventh goal of the night.

Firstly, Jeff Heerema scored his hat trick, assisted by Jade Galbraith, then just nineteen seconds later Galbraith became the scorer assisted by Corey Neilsen and Jeff Heerema.

Almost a minute later Billy Ryan gets on the score sheet, assisted by Jonathan Zion and David Clarke.

An exceptionally physical game, marred once again by controversial decisions by the referee Neil Wilson but also the attitude of the Nottingham Panthers, including their player coach, Corey Neilsen who when on the ice was always in the thick of the ill discipline.

The game also highlighted how small the Capitals’ sqaud is, they need to expand to ensure their survival in this league.

The game ended Edinburgh Capitals 5-11 Nottingham Panthers.

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Next weekend the Capitals face three games in three days.  The Capitals will travel to Dundee on Friday evening to play against the Dundee Stars, face off 19.30pm and this game is being shown live on Sky Sports four.  On the Saturday evening the Capitals will travel over the water to play the Belfast Giants and finally on Sunday the Capitals return to Edinburgh to hot the Dundee Stars at Murrayfield ice rink, face off 6pm.

Read more from this contributor at his Andrew Reeves Running Blog or following him on Twitter @andyreeves