Nottingham Panthers close the gap on league leaders after crucial weekend

PanthersA SUCCESSFUL weekend for Nottingham Panthers saw them close the gap on the Elite Ice Hockey League leaders to only four points after two wins.

The Panthers produced their best performance this season to topple Belfast Giants 4-0 on Friday and carried on their winning ways last night with a convincing 6-3 win over Braehead Clan, who currently sit atop the Elite League table.

The wins mean that the Panthers are within touching distance of top spot, having beaten both of their title rivals in the space of three days.

On Friday, the Panthers shut out Belfast Giants on their own ice with Guillame Doucet turning in a Man of the Match display with two goals and an assist. Colby Cohen and Robert Farmer also chipped in with a goal apiece in a resounding 4-0 win.

The Panthers knew that they would have to carry their winning form into the clash with top-of-the-league Braehead Clan.

A victory over the Clan at the National Ice Centre on Sunday would close the gap on the Clan to four points and would draw the Panthers level with second-placed Belfast Giants, with the Panthers having played two games less.

The clash against the Clan started badly for the Panthers, with Braehead taking an early lead, but the home side responded and levelled through Chris Higgins.

The Panthers rallied in the second period, scoring four goals in quick succession, including a brace from Doucet.

Braehead pulled one back before the end of the period, and the Panthers came under considerable pressure from the league leaders.

However, the Panthers soaked up the pressure and were rewarded for their resilience when Chris Lawrence scored his 20th goal of the season. A sixth goal swiftly followed and even a consolation goal for Braehead couldn’t dampen the Panthers’ spirits as they ran out 6-3 winners.

Panthers now face Coventry Blaze on Wednesday, knowing a win is crucial if they are to challenge for the title.

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