Manchester met Nottingham for the first time since the Panthers took back-to-back victories in the opening weekend of the season looking for blood in the Challenge cup.
The Storm haven’t been the most consistent of teams as of late, penalties and discipline has been playing a major issue but with the return of Mike Hammond in the match again Milton Keynes it seemed the Manchester side could have turned a new leaf.
The match started strong for the Manchester boys as they pitched a tent in the offensive zone and piled on the pressure but no matter what they tried they weren’t getting through the Panthers defense.
First penalty of the night went to Guy Lepine of the Panthers, a 2-minute call for slashing.
The penalty was killed off without much trouble and shortly after Nottingham managed to find their way into the Manchester zone, Ollie Betteridge slotting a backdoor opportunity away to take the lead in the 12th minute.
Kovaks and Lee took quick penalties for Nottingham, slashing and cross-checking, but despite being up 5-on-3 and having immense pressure the Storm were unable to capitalize on the golden opportunity.
The Storm took their first penalty in the 19th minute as Moffatt was sent to the box for holding.
It’s a good sign when the boys aren’t taking penalties for everything and hopefully they have their heads in the game after the outrageous amount of disciplinary issues that have plagued them through the past few matches.
Less that a minute after the restart Nottingham were on the score-sheet once more. Olsen put one past Ginn with assists from Guptill and Pither, the Storm looked down until they brought one back through the half man half amazing Mike Hammond who slid in from behind to tap home a shot from Byers and Moffatt.
Anderson sat the Storms second penalty, a call for hooking at the half hour mark, the penalty didn’t stop Manchester however as the apex predator Hammond burst through on the breakaway only to be denied by a great save from Garnett, the Storm then had a goal disallowed by the refs who were clearly from Nottingham.
The Panthers began losing their composure as the Storm added more and more pressure, Doty was given a delay of game penalty closely followed by a tripping call for Jaynen Rissling that put the Storm on their second 5-on-3 power play of the night.
Despite the first attempt being unsuccessful this time round Ciaran Long managed to win a huge free-for-all in front of the Nottingham goal to equalize for the good guys. The goal was reviewed by the officials but was given and the game tied.
The third period began to get a little fiesty and scuffles began to break out in front of the Storm goal after just a few minutes. Moffatt and Byers broke through for a 2-on-1 but neither managed to convert.
The third goal for Nottingham came through Brett Perlini (Brother of Arizona Coyotes Brendan Perlini) who slipped the puck five-hole past Matt Ginn to give the Panthers the go-ahead goal.
Storm were given the chance to reply immediately as Tim Billingsley was given a tripping penalty at 47 minutes, spamming the poke check button doesn’t work this year Tim!
Five minutes later the immortal Rob Farmer was sent to the box for interference and at 53 minutes it was captain fantastic Dane Byers who equalized for Manchester with assists from Big Dallas and Moffatt, the game was going to overtime and the crowd were going insane!
With less than a minute to go in regular time, Guy Lepine was given a 2+10 penalty for a nasty boarding incident that left the Storm looking strong going into overtime.
Storm had the upper hand in overtime starting 4 on 3, but didn’t manage to get through Garnett. However, it was all over by 64:06, as Long scored his second game of the night unassisted, putting the puck in the lower right hand corner and taking The Storm to victory with a 4-3 win.
The goal was reviewed but given, thankfully. Giving the Storm a huge victory in a thrilling match!