Great Britain netminder Jackson Whistle secured a 30-shot shutout as Nottingham Panthers beat Coventry Blaze 2-0 in the first leg of the playoffs, while GB new-boy Sam Jones was on target as Sheffield Steelers were 5-4 winners over Manchester Storm.
Whistle’s shutout was the first by any netminder in the 25th game of the 2021 Elite Series at the National Ice Centre.
British forward Brett Perlini got one of the assists as Kevin Domingue gave Panthers the lead (22:08) and Austin Cangelosi’s scored their second late in the third period (55:21).
The second leg between Nottingham and Coventry is tomorrow night with a 7pm face-off.
GB new-boy Jones on target as Sheffield edge out Manchester
In the day’s second game, Maxime Fortier – assisted by British forward Ciaran Long – put Manchester in-front at 8:04.
Sam Jones, who was named in a GB squad for the first time last week, equalised at 18:49 – with the assists going to David Phillips and Jason Hewitt – and Steelers went ahead at 21:40 when Brendan Connolly helped set-up Tanner Eberle.
This time it was Manchester’s turn to hit back as Fortier tied the game (25:57) before Steelers regained the advantage through Sondre Olden (32:22), assisted by Robert Dowd.
Hewitt’s second assist of the evening helped tee-up Jeremy Beaudry (36:21) as Sheffield opened up a two-goal lead, but Fortier completed his hat-trick less than two minutes later to reduce the arrears (38:17), with Long getting another assist.
Dowd was involved in the build-up to Eberle’s second of the evening (49:19), but still Manchester refused to lie down and Jacob Lundell made it a one-goal game once again 81 seconds later (50:40).
That was the end of the scoring and the second-leg action between Sheffield and Manchester takes place on Thursday, also a 7pm face-off.
Four teams – Coventry Blaze, Manchester Storm, Nottingham Panthers and Sheffield Steelers – are competing in the 2021 Elite Series at the National Ice Centre.
The event has been organised under the government’s Elite Sport Guidance, with regular testing and a full covid-19 protocol in place.
The tournament – supported by Ice Hockey UK – is forming part of Great Britain’s preparations for the upcoming World Championship in Latvia.
All games are available to watch on a live stream – click here for more details and to purchase the webcasts.
Photo credit: Dean Woolley.