Photos – Andy Gibson
The Stena Line Belfast Giants fell to a 5-4 defeat on Sunday afternoon against the Nottingham Panthers at The SSE Arena. Missing four key players through injury – the Giants forged an early 2-0 lead, but could not hold out as the game finished 4-4 before the Panthers claimed the additional point in the shootout.
Nickerson, Walser, Higgins and Peacock were all on the injury list for this one – however it was the hosts who opened the scoring as Colin Shields finished off a nice move with James Desmarais at 8:18.
Desmarais then turned from provider to scorer at 15:58 as he hammered home from close range to extend the Giants lead at the end of the first 20 minutes of play.
At 26:57 Robert Farmer pulled one back for the visitors before the Panthers tied things up with a fluke of a second goal as a speculative shot by Juraj Kolnik deflected and looped into the Giants net.
However the Giants edged into the lead again as Mike Wilson tipped in a pass from Brandon Benedict on the powerplay to make it 3-2 at the end of the second period.
Kolnik made it 3-3 with his second goal of the game at 51:40 – his 25th goal of the season for Nottingham. Mike Radja gave the Giants the lead once again with a fine finish at 52:42, however the Panthers struck back as Schultz made it 4-4 with less than five minutes remaining to take the game to overtime.
With no score during the five minutes of sudden death overtime – the game went to a penalty shootout with the Nottingham Panthers taking the win following dramatic seven rounds.
The Giants return to action almost immediately with an Elite League clash on Tuesday in Belfast against the Sheffield Steelers – face-off 7pm.
Stena Line Belfast Giants 4-5 Nottingham Panthers
Giants Man of the Match:
#91 David Rutherford