The Stena Line Belfast Giants lost out 4-3 after penalty shots to the Nottingham Panthers after the sides could not be separated after first, 60 minutes regulation time, then 5 minutes of sudden death overtime.
Despite the loss, the Giants pick up one point, on a night that saw losses for title rivals, the Cardiff Devils and the Braehead Clan, who currently occupy first place.
The only goal of the first period came after 8.19 as Panthers turned over the puck with Farmer and Higgins combining well to open the scoring.
The Giants levelled after 21.54 through Kevin Westgarth’s 12th goal of the season. Then, at 24.40, they were in the lead at 2-1 when Darryl Lloyd found Mark Garside who fired into the top corner of the Panthers net. Though it was tied again after 36.26 at 2-2 with Jacina redirecting in a Chris Higgins shot.
The Giants were back in front with 15.46 when Sawada shot past Kowalski for a 3-2 lead. However, yet again, this Elite League clash was level – this time it was Lachowicz who tipped in from Brandon Benedict, another ex-Giant, at 46:19.
With the game tied at 3-3 following 60 minutes of battle, even a further 5 minutes of sudden death overtime could not separate the two sides. Despite a nice shootout goal from Giants Man of the Match Calvin Elfring & a solid performance from Carsen Chubak in net, it was the Panthers who claimed the two points, leaving the Giants with one, with Chris Lawrence scoring the game winning goal.
Both sides will meet again for a second time in as many days on Sunday in Nottingham, face-off 4pm.
Nottingham Panthers 4-3 Stena Line Belfast Giants
Game Over-Stena Line Belfast Giants lose out in Nottingham on penalty shots but take one point from the game.Final Score:Panthers 4-3 Giants
— Belfast Giants (@BelfastGiants) January 31, 2015