The Belfast Giants were embarrassed on home ice last night, shutout 4-0 by the Nottingham Panthers in the latest poor performance at the Odyssey Arena. Steve Thornton’s side slumped to their third home defeat in a row and were booed at the end after 60 minutes that lacked any intensity whatsoever.
The first period started reasonably well for the home side, they looked up for the game and should have opened the scoring with both Calvin Elfring and Kevin Westgarth missing early chances.
But then it started going wrong from just before the halfway point when they conceded two goals in the space of a minute and 38 seconds.
Both were scored by Guy Doucet, recently signed by the Panthers, the first coming at 9:18 when Darryl Lloyd lost hm on the back check and Doucet needed little invitation to shoot from the high slot past Giants goalie Carsen Chubak.
His second was a tap-in after Chubak had made the initial save.
The Panthers third goal came at 18:00 on the powerplay as Robert Farmer redirected the shot from Colby Cohen into the net.
The Giants had most of the pressure in the second period but as the game wore on they became more frustrated and looked like they lacked ideas on how to break Nottingham down.
They had the perfect opportunity to get back into the game with 1:42 worth of 5-on-3 powerplay time but again they couldn’t force a puck past Panthers netminder Craig Kowalski. Two more chances with the man advantage came and went and the Giants were left with it all to do in the final twenty minutes.
But there was no intensity, no rousing comeback for the Giants fans to get behind with the exception of Adam Keefe who tried his best to spark his team mates by dropping the gloves and pounding Greg Jacina.
It was to no avail, Farmer netted his second of the game at 55:58 to rub salt into already very open wounds and put a further dent into the Giants lingering title hopes.
With the win the Panthers leapt above the Giants in the standings and into second place and the home side will be hoping for much better when they face the Fife Flyers at the Odyssey Arena tonight.