Winning streak comes to an end as Giants lose out in overtime
Nottingham Panthers 3 Belfast Giants 2
Great British international Brett Perlini was the game winner 2:21 into overtime as the Belfast Giants' Elite League winning streak ended at seven with a 3-2 defeat at the Nottingham Panthers.
After taking both games in their double-header with the Guildford Flames, the three-on-three extras proved too much for a tired Giants roster, however they stay just a point behind league leaders the Cardiff Devils after they lost on penalty shots to Guildford last night.
It was a scrappy play off the face-off that won it for the Panthers, with Chris Stewart finding the space to fire across the crease where Perlini was on hand to get the tip.
David Rutherford continued his recent form for Belfast with two assists, but defensive errors once again cost the Giants, in particular for the Panthers' second leveller as a slack turnover in the zone allowed Ollie Betteridge to send the game to extras.
Twice the hosts came from behind in regulation, with the Panthers' leading scorer Alex Guptill cancelling out Kendall McFaull's opener for Belfast. McFaull's strike was a repayment of sorts, the defenceman thanking his penalty killers after they played out his tripping minor at 8:33 to put the Giants ahead at 12:13 in the first.
The Belfast forecheckers played their role to perfection, Chris Higgins battling to win the puck behind the net and his pass back out in front was buried from the blue line by McFaull.
While the Giants' penalty killers played their role to perfection in the second by killing off a penalty to Josh Roach at 16:03 of the second, they were soon level.
With the Belfast defenders sucked in down the boards, the puck found its way to Tommy Hughes and his shot was tipped in by Alex Guptill at 18:16 of the second for the Panthers' opener.
Dustin Johner put the Giants back ahead, this time on the powerplay with a tip in off a shot from Rutherford from the point only 1:17 into the final stanza.
But the defence relapsed into old habits when they let Betteridge walk in on Beskorowany, the visitors unable to clear the zone and the British forward finishing at 4:11 of the third.
Both sides had powerplay chances in regulation, both kill units coming up big, and that would send it to overtime where Perlini proved the difference.