Coventry Blaze felt hard done by on Saturday night as the Nottingham Panthers took advantage of a controversial overtime call to win 3-4 at the Skydome Arena.
It was the second time the teams had met in as many days, with Panthers prevailing in the extra period each time.
In a packed out Skydome Arena, Finnish forward Janne Laakkonen gave Blaze an early lead finishing well from a smart Andrew Johnston play at 5.49.
As per the boxing day clash, Julian Talbot hit Panthers’ first, assisted by Brett Bulmer’s excellent back-hand pass (13.39). At 14.53 the away side went ahead when Ollie Betteridge’s quick wrister caught out Blaze man-of-the-match C.J. Motte.
With the first Blaze powerplay goal of the night, Matt Pohlkamp tied the score at two to end the first period, re-directing a Dillon Eichstadt shot (16.37).
Just after the half-way mark, Coventry were awarded a four-minute powerplay when former forward Jake Hansen was forced to sit for high-sticking.
On the second of the two minutes, Charles Corcoran who earlier missed a penalty-shot managed to beat Kevin Carr after much pressure to give the home team a 3-2 lead at 35.33. The goal saw a second assist of the evening for defenceman Justin Hache.
With the clock ticking down, a Mark Matheson wrap-around somehow found its way into the net via Georgs Golovkovs to make it 3-3 at 56.15 much to the delight of the few hundred Nottingham fans in attendance.
Less than a minute later (57.22), Coventry had a chance to win the game, again going on a four-minute powerplay as Panthers’ Captain Sam Herr was called for high-sticks much to his obvious frustration.
Despite chances coming their way, Blaze couldn’t find a winner in regulation time and the 60 minutes ended 3-3 with each team taking a hard-fought point.
Playing for the extra in overtime, Coventry began with a 4-on-3-man advantage which lasted just 43 seconds when the controversial call on Luke Ferrara came from officials Dean Smith and Andrew Miller.
Called for hooking, the high-scoring Brit, Blaze bench and fans were outraged, and their anger propelled further just 11 seconds later when Talbot scored his second and game-winner on the resulting powerplay for Nottingham to end the game 3-4.
Head Coach Danny Stewart said, “Again, I thought we played a great hockey game. We defended well for the most part and created a lot of chances. It was unfortunate the way it ended in overtime as I felt our guys deserved better.”