Herr the hero for Panthers
American forward Sam Herr scored four times to help the Nottingham Panthers to a thrilling 5-4 victory over the Genting Casino Coventry Blaze at the Motorpoint Arena.
In front of over 7,000 people, the Panthers got on the board first as Julian Talbot beat C.J. Motte with just 1.50 gone on the clock.
With his first of two, Luke Ferrara tied the game at 4.18 which is the way it stayed to end the first 20 minutes.
Then came an unusual occurrence as Nottingham were forced to change out of their special SkyLine jersey due to the light grey kit being far too similar with Coventry’s white.
In black, the Panthers fell behind when Matt Pohlkamp scored his 9th of the Elite League regular season on the powerplay at 28.56.
With a breakaway opportunity straight out of the penalty box, Brit Ross Venus extended Coventry’s lead to 1-3 at 33.31 and it could have been more but for the excellent netminding of Panthers’ Kevin Carr.
Going into the final ten minutes of the game, Blaze looked comfortable with their lead, however when a defensive mistake was punished by Herr (51.13) the big home crowd got into the game and the momentum began to swing.
When Dillon Eichstadt’s stick break lead to Herr making it 3-3 (51.55), the Blaze took a time-out to settle themselves down again and it worked when Ferrara’s second put them ahead with just a couple of minutes remaining (57.42).
The strike was Ferrara’s 19th of the league season, putting him top of the league’s goal-scoring charts.
A late penalty to Chris Pohlkamp allowed the Panthers to pull netminder Carr for a 6-on-4 advantage and it was Herr again with his hat-trick goal who made it 4-4 (59.14) sending the game to 3-on-3 overtime.
With a point secure for both teams, Herr capped a sensational end to the game for him and the Panthers, scoring the game-winning-goal just 32 seconds into the additional period for a final score of 5-4.
Head Coach Danny Stewart said, “I feel for our guys. There’s nothing to hang our heads about. We came here and played a good hockey game. I’m a big believer in puck luck, that if you play the right way, you’ll get that luck but unfortunately we didn’t tonight and a couple of and bounces have cost us the hockey game. “