A back and forth opening leg of the Playoff quarter final saw the Panthers take a lead 4 times only for Flames to reply on each and every occasion before finally closing out the evening on a 4 goal draw to start leg 2 Sunday at Nottingham all even on aggregate.
Panthers had the only goal of the opening frame through Sean Richards at 6:24.
Just over 5 minutes into the 2nd, Turner Ripplinger pulled Flames even, but 34 seconds later Richards’ 2nd of the contest had Panthers back in front again. Mike Crocock erased the lead with a 31st minute strike, but true to pattern, Panthers stepped into another lead less than 7 minutes from period time with a Christophe Boivin powerplay goal.
At 45:07, Flames drew level again with an Ian McNulty powerplay strike. Panthers took a 4-3 aggregate lead thanks to a Matt Myers goal in the 54th minute, but inside the last 2 minutes Owen Griffiths goal ensured the teams would enter Sunday level on the combined count.
“If people wanted an exciting game for our last entry at Spectrum this season, they couldn’t have asked for more than this,” concluded Paul Dixon.
“It was two teams giving every single bit of energy they had to do what they could in order to advance to the next round, and in the end we were able to reply to every lead they got to send us into the 2nd leg still with everything to play for, which is the objective in leg 1.”
“It is going to be another great game Sunday. I think you will get two excited teams knowing that everything is in front of them and hopefully we can go there and get a break or two that decides a slim difference between the clubs to ensure we capture one of the playoff semi final spots.”
“We are looking forward to it and it is going to be a lot of fun.”