A THRILLING shoot-out victory over defending Elite League champions Nottingham Panthers sealed a positive night all-round for Hull Stingrays.
Not only did the 4-3 success at Hull Ice Arena lift the Stingrays back up to sixth in the overall standings, but a 3-1 defeat for Dundee Stars at Fife Flyers enhanced the East Yorkshire club’s Gardiner Conference title hopes.
Guillaume Doucet and Carl Lauzon were the shoot-out heroes last night, but only after Nottingham had rescued a point and taken the game into overtime with a last-minute equalising goal from Matt Ryan.
Doucet had given Hull a 12th-minute lead on the powerplay, only for David Clarke and Greg Jacina to hit back to give the Panthers a first interval lead.
A Jereme Tendler double in the second period then looked to have won the game for Hull until Ryan’s late, late leveller.
“It is a massive win for our club,” said Hull player-coach Sylvain Cloutier.
“When they tied the game at the end we were not sure if the puck actually went in but the referee gave it. We regrouped and ended up winning the game. Bownsy (goaltender Ben Bowns) and our shooters did a great job.
“That’s back-to-back home wins against Panthers which doesn’t happen often. They are still a good side but the guys never gave up and we found a way to win.”
Dundee’s defeat in Fife leaves them two points behind leaders Hull in the Conference standings with three games in hand. There are still three meetings to come between the two this season. Braehead remain third in the Conference, three points adrift of Hull with a game in hand and two encounters still to come against Cloutier’s team, who lead the eight-game series 5-1.
A four-goal haul for Stefan Meyer helped Sheffield Steelers bounce back from a disappointing 5-2 defeat at Nottingham on Saturday with a comfortable 5-1 victory at home to Coventry Blaze last night.
With it only being a matter of time before Belfast Giants confirm their second regular season title, Steelers’ best hopes lie in coming in second ahead of the post season. They are currently third behind Braehead Clan with Nottingham one point further back.
Shea Guthrie gave Blaze a 13th-minute lead short-handed, but it wasn’t long before Meyer made his mark, levelling for the home side just over two minutes later.
Meyer’s second came on the powerplay at 21.00 before he sealed his hat-trick at 29.07. Max Lacroix made it 4-1 at 43.34 before Meyer rounded off the scoring with a second powerplay effort.
It was a different story on Saturday at the National Ice Centre, however, the Panthers establishing a five-goal lead through strikes from Jonathan Weaver, Leigh Salters, Petr Kalus and Robert Lachowicz.
Dustin Kohn and Jason Hewitt hit third period goals to salvage some pride for the visitors.
“Yesterday I was frustrated and angry,” said Steelers’ head coach Doug Christiansen after the Coventry win. “But today I woke up and we had the opportunity to play and I thought the guys battled and competed and did things that we asked of them, and you know what, when we do that, we are pretty good.”