Panthers fightback to beat Blaze

The Nottingham Panthers snapped their eight-game losing streak with a 2-6 victory over Genting Casino Coventry Blaze at Skydome Arena on Sunday.

With the momentum of a penalty-shots victory the night before in Nottingham, Coventry began the game on fire scoring twice in the opening minute.

Swede Kim Tallberg was first on the board at 45 seconds and just 14 seconds later Danny Kristo ended his lengthily goal drought to make it 2-0.

Frustratingly for the home side that was as good as the evening got as the Panthers fought back to tie the game and eventually take home the two Elite League points.

Alexander Lunsjo began the comeback, scoring 23 seconds after the Blaze had gone 2-0 up through Kristo.

Recent signing Felix Pare then tied the game with his first for Panthers at 6.39, benefiting from a fortunate bounce while proving a screen in front of Blaze goalie Taran Kozun.

Pare then scored a second at 9.16, finishing Joe Hazeldine’s feed well to turn the game on its head.

Following the open wide nature of the opening period, each side clamped down defensively in the second and no further goals were scored through 40 minutes.

There was, however, major incident at 23.51 when two-goal Pare was ejected from the game for head-butting on Blaze’s Ian McNulty.

With just over ten minutes of the game remaining, Coventry’s Alessio Luciani thought that he had tied the game again, but his effort was ruled out following video review due to the puck being re-directed into the net via his glove.

A second video review followed at 53.36 when Westin Michaud’s effort was ruled a goal despite the protest of Blaze goalie Kozun who argued the puck hadn’t crossed the line.

With no conclusive evidence to change the on-ice call of a goal, the effort was awarded, and the Panthers went 2-4 up.

Blaze were awarded a powerplay in the final five minutes and pulled Kozun for extra skater to gain a 6-on-4 advantage.

Unfortunately for the home side, Mathieu Lemay was able to find the empty net to record his third goal of the weekend and 20th of the regular season.

With Kozun back in net, Lunsjo’s second rubbed salt into the Coventry wound and to the delight of the noisy away following, capped off the scoring 2-6.

Photo credit: Scott Wiggins