Slow start from Manchester Storm helps Nottingham Panthers on path to victory in Challenge Cup

Nottingham Panthers 3 Manchester Storm 1

Manchester Storm took time to bring their game to Nottingham Panthers and defeat on Saturday increased their winless start this season to five games.

Themes highlighted by coach Ryan Finnerty after defeat in the reverse Challenge Cup fixture earlier this month pinned the visitors to their defensive line in the first period at the Motorpoint Arena. 

The Panthers’ pressure on the area behind Matt Ginn’s goal created space for unchallenged forward play in front of his crease.

The hustle led to a clear opening inside 90 seconds for the first goal for Simon Suoranta and for the second Matthew Lane deflected in a speculative shot from the blue line. 

A third score was chalked off by the referee but a powerplay goal – Cameron Critchlow was in the penalty box for fighting and holding – kept the home side at a safe distance.

Storm aggression injected more life into the game and disrupted its flow and the away side seemed to benefit more from the disorder.

A powerplay score for Curtis Hamilton in the second period gave his side some hope but the hosts looked unlikely to be shaken.

There were some positives from Storm defenceman Joseph Hazeldine who kept his former employers at bay more than once.

His team now turn their attention to the league visit of Fife Flyers to the Storm Shelter on Saturday after this run of difficult cup games against the best teams in the Premier Sports Elite League.

Image Credit: Dean Woolley (EIHL)

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