Giants make their point but lose in shoot-out
Nottingham Panthers 2 Belfast Giants 2
The Belfast Giants took a point from a dramatic game against the Nottingham Panthers, but missed out on another after losing a penalty shoot-out at the National Ice Centre.
After winning a marathon shoot-out in Dundee last Saturday night, the Giants weren't able to repeat that feat, but player-coach Derrick Walser will be pleased to have come away from a tough away game with at least something to show.
Nottingham made a great start with the opening goal just less than two minutes in. Alex Nikiforuk made the opening and Jeff Brown provided the finishing touch when he pulled out a great shot.
The Giants penalty killing unit did its job twice before they levelled things up at 12:14. Alex Foster and Matt Nickerson moved the puck forward and Colin Shields fired home.
The Panthers were ahead before the end of the first period though. The goal came at 18:12, with Ollie Betteridge forcing the puck home after a scramble in front of the Giants' goal.
Betteridge could have added to the Panthers' lead with probably the best chance of the second period, but his effort was weak and failed to adequately trouble Murphy.
The Giants killed another penalty early in the third period and a minute after returning to full strength they got the equaliser as Blair Riley finished off after good work from Mike Forney and Jim Vandermeer.
Nottingham thought they had scored a third goal with just four minutes to go. Indeed they had the puck over the line, but the officials waved it off and the teams remained tied at 2-2.
Murphy then pulled off a great save to deny Brad Moran to take the game into overtime.
A controversial penalty call on Vandermeer six seconds before the end of regulation put the Panthers on a powerplay, but just 20 seconds in the teams were equal again when Andy Sertich was punished for hooking.
Neither call had an effect on the game as it entered a penalty shoot-out.
Shields and James Desmarais both missed for the Giants, either side of Stephen Schultz failing with the Panthers' first shot.
Matt Carter did find the net with Nottingham's second shot, meaning that Steve Saviano had to score for the Giants, but his miss gave the Panthers the extra point.