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Nottingham Panthers 4 - 3 Belfast Giants: Coach makes his point after Giants lose out


Goal scorer: Craig Peacock netted twice for the Belfast Giants

Goal scorer: Craig Peacock netted twice for the Belfast Giants

Goal scorer: Craig Peacock netted twice for the Belfast Giants

Steve Thornton has warned his Belfast Giants players that how they start games is as important as how they finish them after Saturday night's 4-3 overtime defeat to the Nottingham Panthers.

The Giants had to scramble back after going 3-0 down, meaning that the point for drawing the game in regulation time was very much a point gained.

Greg Jacina stoked the 5,000 strong home crowd when he opened the scoring just 21 seconds into the game, with Nathan Robinson and Jonathan Boxill creating the opening.

That trio was involved again when Nottingham doubled their lead four minutes later, this time it was Robinson who finished the move.

Nottingham struck again eight minutes into the second period. Calvin Elfring was sent to the penalty box for a hooking offence, but he was back on the ice just 11 seconds after play resumed with Robert Lachowicz putting the Panthers 3-0 up on the powerplay.

A delayed penalty kick-started the Giants comeback five minutes from the end of the second period.

Boxhill was called for hooking, but with the Giants still in possession of the puck referee Tom Darnell allowed play to continue and that allowed Darryl Lloyd to score.

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The Giants were very much back in the game going into the third period after bringing the scoreline back to 3-2 just 13 seconds before the end of the second.

Evan Cheverie sent the puck to Craig Peacock, who fired past Craig Kowalski in the Nottingham goal.

Cheverie assisted Peacock again at 46:52 to bring the teams level.

That meant five minutes of four-on-four sudden-death overtime, but the Giants were reduced to just three skaters when Ray Sawada was punished for a hooking offence 1:45 into the added time.

Stephen Murphy came under fire and with his team-mates unable to register a shot at the other end he almost single-handedly kept the Giants in the game until 24 seconds from the end of overtime when Bruce Graham clinched the extra point for the Panthers.

"It was a terrible start giving up a goal on the first shift," said Thornton.

"We were sleeping for 30 minutes and came to life after our first goal.

"It was a great comeback and we were close to scoring a few times in the last five minutes.

"It was a great fightback and a good road point in Nottingham, but we can't put ourselves in that position and expect to win matches.

"We need to start with a higher tempo and put other teams under pressure instead of inviting pressure on ourselves."

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