12 Goal Giants Tame Panthers with ease

12 goal Giants smother the Panthers In their double-hitter

 On game night it is essential for fans to get a feel for the opposition in the SSE Arena. Usually this can be either in the now famous ‘Rockies’ sports bar or in the ‘Street’ café. These venues are where home fans and visiting spectators alike seem to gather before the game.

 In both locations ample visiting Panthers’ fans were present. They were happy to talk about how safe Belfast City was to visit, and how clean the centre.

When it came time to conversation on the subject of, ‘How were the Panthers going to fare in the back-to-back games?’ The fans’ replies were honest. Nottingham were not playing so well at the moment, however, supporters had come for a weekend break and also to support the Panthers and see how they would do.

Turning to the Giants, they would have to win their remaining Elite League games to be sure of a second place finish – and have a favourable opponent in the first round of the play-offs. Not forgetting the long shot chance of lifting the Elite League Trophy if they could win their remaining games and hope that another team trip up the Cardiff Devils on the way. A very long-shot-bet if ever there was one.

Jackson Whistle #2Is Jackson Whistle (1) out for the season ? 

With Jackson Whistle allegedly out for the season Stephen Murphy had to step up to the plate and take the full load. Back up goalie Dickson was only too ready to step in to the fill the gap – if and when required.

Belfast Giants v Nottingham Panthers - Elite Ice Hockey LeagueJames Desmarais, DerrickWalser and David Rutherford celebrate the Giants score 

Friday night’s encounter saw both squads scrutinizing each others’ short-comings In the opening five minutes. It was the Giants who found the winning move. James Desmarais let fly with an unstoppable slap shot to open the scoring for Belfast.

Belfast Giants v Nottingham Panthers - Elite Ice Hockey LeagueColin Shields Celebrates with Steve Saviano after scoring 

Next up and only a few minutes later Michael Quesnele made it 2-0 Giants. Belfast were not finished yet as Colin Shields – who having another stella season – scored the first of his three goals on the night. That ended the first period scoring leaving Belfast with a commanding lead.

 

Nottingham’s Chris Lawrence scored on a Giants powerplay early in the second period to pull one back for the Panthers. However David Rutherford scored on the powerplay, assisted by Derrick Walser and Colin Shields, to regain the Giants’ three goal advantage.

 

Colins Shields scored his second of night with Blair Riley finishing off an excellent move making it 6-1 with a period left to play. Shields netted his hat-trick after some neat work by Steve Saviano in chasing down the loose puck and finding Shields for the one-timer.

 

Again, Chris Lawrence scored for the Panthers’ second of the game, assisted by Matt Carter and Dan Spang. Spang then turned from provider to scorer, assisted by Deivids Sarkanis and Jeff Brown.

 

That made the final score Belfast Giants 7-3 Nottingham Panthers. Deservedly the Giants Man of the Match was awarded to #19 Colin Shields. With the Continental Trophy in the club’s trophy cabinet it looked like Nottingham were trying out their options, biding their time, awaiting the playoffs.

 

 

The Giants still had their noses to the grind-stone – still trying to lift any trophy this season. With the same commitment shown on Friday night’s encounter Belfast claimed a second win of the weekend, again against the Nottingham Panthers. It was a 5-2 victory at the SSE Arena on Sunday.

 

David Rutherford played a starring role with his hat-trick helping the home side take the two points. The win followed Friday’s 7-3 home win over the same opposition, making it a four point weekend for the Belfast side.

 

With the game clock just past the two-minute mark, Michael Quesnele dropped the gloves with the Panthers’ Alex Nikiforuk. This followed an incident involving the players in the last meeting between the two sides in Nottingham. Both Quesnele and Nikiforuk picked up five-minute penalties for fighting.

 

This time Nottingham opened the scoring with Jeff Brown firing his side into a 1-0 advantage with assists from Matt Carter and Eric Lindhagen. Brown’s goal was the only strike in a quiet opening period.

 

David Rutherford equalized for the Giants early in the second period with an unstoppable slap shot, assisted by Chris Higgins.

 

Colin Shields’ goal put the Giants on top for the first time in the game with a fine strike half way through the second period assisted by James Desmarais and Jerome Leduc.

 

Rutherford netted his second of the game and the Giants’ third of the night early in the third period when he followed up on his original effort which struck the crossbar. Rutherford’s goal, assisted by James Desmarais and Adam Keefe gave the home side some breathing space with a two-goal advantage.

 

Blair Riley extended the Giants’ lead to three goals with a solo effort while the Panthers were on the powerplay. However soon after the visitors pulled one back with Dan Spang shooting into the corner of the Giants’ net, assisted by Andy Sertich and Alex Nikiforuk.

 

David Rutherford became the hat-trick hero, netting his third of the game, assisted by James Desmarais and Steve Saviano. Rutherford’s third rounded off the scoring with the Giants taking the 5-2 home win over the Nottingham Panthers.

 

The Belfast Giants return to action again on both Friday and Saturday at home against the Sheffield Steelers and Coventry Blaze respectively.

 

The final score was Belfast Giants 5-2 Nottingham Panthers with the Giants Man of the Match #91 David Rutherford.

 

Written by Wayne Hardman

 

 

 

 Elite Ice Hockey League Standings 2016/17
After Games of 12/3/17    
GP Regulation OT/PS OT/PS Regulation PTS Current
Wins Wins Losses Losses Streak
Cardiff*

48

29

7

3

9

75

1 loss
Belfast*

48

28

5

4

11

70

5 wins
Sheffield*

48

28

4

3

13

67

2 wins
Braehead*

48

23

1

3

21

51

1 loss
Nottingham*

46

19

3

6

18

50

2 losses
Fife*

48

18

5

3

22

49

2 wins
Dundee

48

14

4

6

24

42

1 win
Coventry

49

13

6

4

26

42

1 loss
Manchester

49

16

1

7

25

41

1 loss
Edinburgh

48

11

5

2

30

34

3 losses

 

*Qualified for Play-Offs (top 8 qualify)

 

 

 Gardiner Conference Standings 2016-2017
After games of 12/3/17
GP Regulation OT/PS OT/PS Regulation PTS Current
Wins Wins Losses Losses Streak
Braehead**

29

21

0

1

7

43

1 win

Dundee

29

12

3

3

11

33

3 wins

Manchester

31

12

1

3

15

29

1 loss

Fife

29

11

1

3

14

27

1 win

Edinburgh

30

8

5

0

17

26

3 losses

 

**Gardiner Conference Champions

 

 

 Erhardt Conference Standings 2016-2017
After games of 12/3/17
GP Regulation OT/PS OT/PS Regulation PTS Current
Wins Wins Losses Losses Streak
Cardiff

29

16

3

3

7

41

1 loss

Belfast

28

14

4

2

8

38

3 wins

Sheffield

28

14

1

2

11

32

1 win

Nottingham

31

11

2

4

14

30

4 losses

Coventry

30

4

4

3

19

19

1 win

 

 Elite Ice Hockey League Standings 2016/17
After Games of 12/3/17    
GP Regulation OT/PS OT/PS Regulation PTS Current
Wins Wins Losses Losses Streak
Cardiff*

48

29

7

3

9

75

1 loss
Belfast*

48

28

5

4

11

70

5 wins
Sheffield*

48

28

4

3

13

67

2 wins
Braehead*

48

23

1

3

21

51

1 loss
Nottingham*

46

19

3

6

18

50

2 losses
Fife*

48

18

5

3

22

49

2 wins
Dundee

48

14

4

6

24

42

1 win
Coventry

49

13

6

4

26

42

1 loss
Manchester

49

16

1

7

25

41

1 loss
Edinburgh

48

11

5

2

30

34

3 losses

 

*Qualified for Play-Offs (top 8 qualify)

 

 

 Gardiner Conference Standings 2016-2017
After games of 12/3/17
GP Regulation OT/PS OT/PS Regulation PTS Current
Wins Wins Losses Losses Streak
Braehead**

29

21

0

1

7

43

1 win

Dundee

29

12

3

3

11

33

3 wins

Manchester

31

12

1

3

15

29

1 loss

Fife

29

11

1

3

14

27

1 win

Edinburgh

30

8

5

0

17

26

3 losses

 

**Gardiner Conference Champions

 

 

 Erhardt Conference Standings 2016-2017
After games of 12/3/17
GP Regulation OT/PS OT/PS Regulation PTS Current
Wins Wins Losses Losses Streak
Cardiff

29

16

3

3

7

41

1 loss

Belfast

28

14

4

2

8

38

3 wins

Sheffield

28

14

1

2

11

32

1 win

Nottingham

31

11

2

4

14

30

4 losses

Coventry

30

4

4

3

19

19

1 win

 

 

 

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