Beginning the 2nd leg of the Cup Semi final at Nottingham Panthers with a 5-2 lead, the Flames jumped out to a 2-0 advantage to widen the gap before skating on to a 3-1 win, 8-3 on aggregate, and a club history making moment with their first ever Elite League Final which will be the Cup championship game on March 10th against Belfast Giants.
Chris Carrozzi was the busier of the netminders in the 1st period facing 11 shots compared to 5 for Michael Garnett at the other end, but when the curtain closed on the set, the clubs were still scoreless on the night, with the Flames still on the 3 goal starting cushion.
Just inside the game’s halfway mark, Kevin King netted the crucial opener that put the Flames in front, but more importantly spread the goal differential to 4. Around 5 minutes later Ian Watters made it a 2-0 lead and 7-2 on aggregate, but a late Justin Kovacs reply breathed a bit of life for Panthers as they went to break needing 4 goals rather than 5 to pull it even.
In the final session, the clubs skated through the segment with nary a goal until a Jamie Crooks powerplay strike in the final minute cemented the Flames place in the trophy game next month.
“This is not only a great moment for this club, but also for every player here who has helped be a part of a first for us,” said Head Coach Paul Dixon.
“Every athlete wants to be in a position where they are going for silver, and we have a chance to now be in a one off game to do just that.”
“Getting out of the 1st leg at home with a good lead was key for us. We were able to play tonight with a little less pressure and a lot of confidence that we could do what needed to be done to get into the final.”
“We have to get our head back into league play shortly, but we will definitely enjoy the feeling of our accomplishment and will be looking forward to the trophy game next month.”