Cardiff Devils 9-4 Nottingham Panthers
There have been some memorable finals weekend games between the Cardiff Devils and the Nottingham Panthers, and the second playoff semi-final of 2019 promised to be no different as the teams contested the joint-highest scoring Semi-Final game at Playoff Finals Weekend
In a high octane first seven minutes of the first period the Devils struck first on the powerplay when former Nottingham player Evan Mosey capitalised on a bouncing puck with a smart finish past Panthers netminder Patrick Munson. The Devils doubled their lead in the first after a pinpoint pass from Matt Pope to find Mark Richardson open at the back door, who slammed the puck into the yawning cage. Devils would extend their lead again on the powerplay, Linglet’s slapshot from the slot beat Munson. Mark Richardson then added his second of the game and Cardiff’s fourth of the game before the end of the first period with a floated shot that an unsighted Munson couldn’t stop.
The Panthers answered with their first of the game just thirty seconds into the second period when top scorer Alex Guptill forced the puck past Ben Bowns to cut the deficit. Not long after the Panthers would score again cutting the gap to two as Mark Hurtubise ripped a shot over Bowns’s glove side, with the Nottingham fans suddenly believing a famous comeback might be on. That was dashed though as the Devils took no time to answer – Bryce Reddick stepped in from the point and restored the three-goal lead. The Devils couldn’t stop scoring as they beat Munson for the sixth time in the game before the half way point, this time a tip in front by Stephen Dixon guides the puck past Munson.
The goals just kept on coming in the second period, the Panthers again cut the lead to three with a goal from young Brit Josh Tetlow. Charles Linglet completed his hat-trick with just over six minutes left in the second letting off a backhand with pinpoint accuracy into the top righthand corner of the Panthers net. With a minute remaining in the second the Devils extended their lead and score their eighth of the game, Bryce Reddick with his second.
Leading into the third the Panthers changed netminder and deputy Sam Gospel would take over between the pipes. With only two minutes of the third period gone Charles Linglet scored his fourth of the game beating Gospel up high with a hard slap shot. Adding a powerplay goal for the Panthers score their fourth of the game, a blast from defenceman Jaynen Rissling found the back of the net. There would be no further scoring in the third period and the Devils would come out 9-4 winners to make their way to the Predictor Bet Playoff Finals 2019 to face the Belfast Giants.
Game photos (Dean Woolley):