Photo of Flames netminder Liam Hughes who made 37 saves while backstopping the club to a 5-3 win over Nottingham Panthers.  Photo by Nottingham Panthers.

A pair of goals in each of the 1st and 2nd periods helped Flames to a 4-0 lead that was eventually trimmed to a single before a late empty netter closed out a 5-3 win at Nottingham Panthers that counts Liam Hughes’ first win in Flames colours. 

At 7:52 Jamal Watson got things started and just over a minute later Jake Bolton made it a 2-goal advantage which was how things stood for the remainder of the set and to start the 2nd.

Near the game’s midway mark, and just 4 seconds into a powerplay, Ian Watters had the visitors up by a trio then about 7 minutes from period time Chris Gerrie increased the gap to 4 with what ultimately turned out to be the winner. 

Early in the 3rd, Panthers got on the board when Jeremy Welsh opened Panthers’ account.  Inside the last 7 minutes, Welsh’s 2nd of the contest cut their deficit to just a pair.  87 seconds from time, with Panthers using an extra skater, Matt Lane bagged their 3rd to set up a nailbiter finish, but once play started Ian McNulty was able to get his side’s 5th into an empty cage to guarantee a 4-point weekend haul. 

“We are happy to put in a 4-point weekend, but in the end we certainly made that game closer than it had to be,” admitted Paul Dixon.

“From about halfway through the game and certainly for nearly all of the 3rd, we played a little too cautious and conservative and Panthers created some really good opportunities that they didn’t have as much of at the beginning of the evening.”

“When you are in front of a team you don’t want to back off and kind of invite them to bring the game to you because certainly teams will do that, and they have some talented players to make you pay for it.”

“In the end though, we didn’t panic and were able to do enough to make sure we didn’t let the entire lead slip.  It’s a good win in a place we had not yet won this season so we can now look forward to our first full week of training in a very long time to get ourselves the best set up for a Manchester Storm away then home pair of games coming up Saturday and Sunday.”   

Neil Tucker

Neil has written on ice hockey for many websites concentrating on British ice hockey mostly. Neil also covers ice hockey in other countries and organises his Blueliner Hockey Tour. A graduate of the Manchester Metropolitan University Neil turned his hand to hockey writing in 2009. As well as contributing on Blueliner Hockey Neil has contributed to Get Real Hockey and Slapshot Magasine.

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