In the opening leg of the Cup Quarter Final, a late 2nd period Nottingham Panthers goal gave them a lead they would not relinquish then they added another in the 3rd to secure a 4-2 win over the visiting Flames. The result gives Panthers a 2 goal aggregate margin heading into the 2nd leg at Guildford Jan 19th.
Panthers had the only scoring of the opening frame thanks to a goal by Sean Richards a little under 5 minutes in.
Flames levelled at 24:38 when Tristan Frei was on target and Ian McNulty put the visitors in front less than 2 minutes later. Only 31 seconds after that though, Robbie Baillargeon brought Panthers back to even terms and Richard’s 2nd of the game late in the period sent Nottingham to break in front by a single.
Just over halfway through the 3rd, while clubs played 4 against 4, Panthers doubled their advantage with another Baillargeon strike that closed out the scoring and leaves Flames 2 goals off the pace to start the closing leg.
“We have obviously left more work than we would have liked for the 2nd leg,” said Paul Dixon.
“We would certainly be a lot more comfortable being tied or even only a goal down, but we didn’t score on enough of our good chances tonight. We had plenty of good opportunities to have more than just the 2 goals. If you were measuring the high quality scoring chances there is no doubt that favoured us tonight, but Kevin Carr in their net really shut the door.”
“We will shift our focus for league action Saturday and Sunday for now, and then we will worry about trying to recover the Cup deficit early next week.”