I attended this fixture in Nottingham last night and what a strange game it was! Shortly after the opening face-off, Nottingham began with a quick strike which the goalie appeared to have covered but in what seemed like an age squirted into the net. Three more Panthers goals followed in quick succession and looked to have killed the game as a spectacle not long after the half way point in the first period. The Edinburgh defence was spectacularly poor at times with little cover for the goalie from Nottingham players skating through on the net.
Edinburgh surprisingly struck back though with the assistance of one or two individual errors by Nottingham. The game went into the first break with an unlikely 4-3 score line and a slight air of unreality about it. I pondered on what the respective coaches must have been saying to the teams in the changing rooms.
Into the second period and Edinburgh were very unfortunate. In a goalmouth incident in which an Edinburgh shot entered the net, Nottingham goalie Kevin St. Pierre had kicked a pipe out of it’s mooring intentionally and the ‘goal’ was disallowed. St. Pierre collected two minutes for his transgression but justice was not done on this occasion as Edinburgh’s all-important ‘equaliser’ was struck off. I’m not sure the game would have turned on this but it was certainly a cruel blow for the Caps who were working hard and gaining in confidence.
Perhaps not unexpectedly, Nottingham rattled in another couple of goals to put some daylight between them and the Edinburgh outfit. The final period played offered just one further goal to the Panthers (inconceivably after the whirlwind first period). The game was played out with an air resembling something of a training session atmosphere.
Panthers 7 Capitals 3
A strange game then. It was an unusual lacklustre occasion with a smaller crowd, perhaps hit by the strains and expense of Christmas shopping. Additionally for those of that persuasion, Nottingham Forest v Preston was playing out with that game’s final whistle being blown just after Face-off time at Lower Parliament Street, which may have taken a few off the gate.
Bad luck to the Edinburgh boys, I for one was rooting for them in the rink. I do think they were a little unjustly done by, particularly the St. Pierre incident but at times it felt a little like men against boys with a Panthers team that looked stronger, better conditioned and more organised.