The Nottingham panthers claimed their sixth Challenge Cup win in seven years with an overtime winner to beat Cardiff Devils at the Sheffield Arena on Sunday.
Evan Mosey’s one-timer flew in from range as Panthers found a way through after a relentless display from Ben Bowns in the Devils goal.
The British netminder put in an excellent display, although he would have been relieved when he gifted possession to Robert Lachowicz during a Devils powerplay in the first period. Lachowicz could only find the side netting with his attempt.
Miika Wiikman was impressive in the Panthers goal, who covered up well when needed, but it was Bowns who was on the receiving end of a 48-15 count.
The game was tightly contested throughout, and Panthers ability to kill off Powerplays in the first period forecasted that this was going to be a low scoring game.
The Devils grew into the game, and began to impose themselves more physically in the second and third periods. Player-coach Andrew Lord almost opened the scoring and was one of the Devils more enterprising players.
With no goals in regular time, overtime saw the Panthers dominating the play, with the Devils penned in their own defensive zone.
The winning goal came about through Robert Lachowicz’s determination to gain possession, he in turn found Brad Moran who teed Mosey up who slammed his slapshot above Bowns to send the Panthers fans into crazy celebrations.
Moments before the winning goal, the Panthers went agonisingly close as Moran and Stephen Schultz both rattled the Cardiff pipework. However Cardiff’s luck had run out when Mosey’s next effort flew home.
Panther’s head coach Corey Neilson alluded to his team’s strength and energy as they rotated with four forward lines, which ultimately allowed them to maintain their intensity deep into overtime.
The Panthers will now turn their attention to the Elite League, which for a while looked to have slipped away. Despite being fifth, the Panthers could win their games in hand to go two points behind the Sheffield Steelers.
The fixtures will certainly mean the Panthers have a say on who takes the league title, as they still have two games against the Steelers to come. The Panthers may sense an opportunity as the cup final defeat was Cardiff’s fourth consecutive defeat in all competitions.
Cup final hero Mosey has been rewarded for his excellent recent displays with an inclusion to the long-list squad for Great Britain’s upcoming World Championship. He is one of seven Panthers players in the preliminary squad.
The Panthers will travel to Coventry on Wednesday, whilst the Devils will look to stop their bad run against at home to another team with title aspirations, the Belfast Giants on Saturday