Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Kelman calls for ban on wild Panther

Mark Dutiaume lies on the ice after taking a stick in the face from Jim Shepherd

Belfast Giants general manager Todd Kelman is calling on Elite League disciplinary chiefs to make an example of Nottingham Panthers' Jim Shepherd.

Kelman wants the league to consider a lengthy ban for the player after he left Giants forward Mark Dutiaume flat out on the ice just seconds before the end of Saturday night's game between the sides at the National Ice Centre.

The Panthers had just made sure of a 6-4 win over the Giants as Johan Molin completed a hat-trick to kill off any chance of a dramatic Belfast comeback after they trailed 4-0 just 13 minutes in the game.

The welfare of Dutiaume, however, mattered more than the result to Kelman, who reacted angrily when the former Sheffield Steeler took a stick in the face which left him badly injured and concussed.

"We had a bad situation with the referee who called eight straight penalties in the first period," said Kelman.

"We weren't happy with that and none of us was happy with the incident at the end of the game either.

"Jim Shepherd should be suspended for the season, or at least for a long time.

"When you play ice hockey you have a weapon in your hand, but there is a gentleman's rule that you never use it on an opponent and what he did to Mark Dutiaume was a gutless action by a gutless player.

"The Panthers organisation apologised after the game and he wanted to come and apologise too.

"But I don't think it would have been a good idea for him to come to our dressing room.

"It will be interesting to see what the league does, but they should make an example of him and I hope he gets put out for the year."

The injury to Dutiaume compounded the agony on the Giants, who put on a display of character to pull the game back to 4-3 and then 5-4 before Molin's late clincher.

All of the Panthers' first four goals came on powerplays as they ground down a tiring Giants penalty-killing team.

Dutiame and Scott Cameron then scored twice each, with Sean McAslan getting his second of the night to keep the Panthers in front.

The Giants threatened to take the game to overtime, but Molin's third goal meant their brave fightback had been in vain, inflicting a fifth successive defeat on the Belfast men.

Coach Ed Courtenay has threatened changes and there is a chance that new faces could be in the team when the Panthers come to the Odyssey Arena for the reverse fixture on Friday night.

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