Nottingham Panthers scored at least once in each period to take a 4-0 lead that eventually translated to a 4-1 Leg 1 playoff quarter final aggregate goal win over the visiting Flames.
Stephen Anderson got them started at 6:43 and they held that lead into the middle set.
At 29:06 Adam Brady doubled their advantage and about 6 minutes later Tanner Sorenson put them in command up by 3 with a scoreline that would see them though the end of the 2nd.
At 46:36 David Levin added another for the home team before Daniel Tedesco made Sunday’s job a little more manageable thanks to his strike in the 52nd minute.
Eamon McAdam made 26 saves on 30 shots while Peyton Jones for Panthers was nearly unblemished at 32 for 33.
The pair of teams will go at it again Sunday in Guildford in the closing leg.
“Obviously that is not the outcome we were looking for tonight,” said Paul Dixon.
“Not a position we would have asked for but we will have to handle it. The good news is we are going home for leg 2, and we have a team who is capable of scoring. We are going to need guys to put a lot of pressure on Panthers and get some chances that hopefully we can turn to at least an early goal or two so we have a chance in the back half of the game to pull it out.”
“Nobody here will be happy with this and I know they will come ready tomorrow to put up a fight and see if we can reel it back in. We have nothing to lose now, so everyone should be able to play relatively relaxed and see what we can do. We are not quitting here so let’s see what we can do tomorrow night.”