Brad Moran scores Nottingham's game-winning goal against Odense late in the second period. Photo: Max Pattis
Nottingham opens Continental Cup vs. Odense
The Nottingham Panthers opened the 2017 IIHF Continental Cup Final with a 2-0 victory against the Odense Bulldogs from Denmark.
Brad Moran scored both goals in the Panthers’ win. It was the sixth win in the seventh game for Nottingham during the Continental Cup campaign.
“We both had chances, both goalies played well, kind of a defensive game, both were feeling each other out,” Moran described the game.
Already in the teams’ semi-final tournament encounter the Panthers beat Odense on the opponent’s ice 5-4. It was a tight battle in which Odense found back into the game with two late goals.
And it wasn’t different in Ritten just that the teams would allow each other fewer scoring chances and stayed disciplined. Cheered by their loud fans who travelled to Italy, some of them arriving delayed due to the first snowfall this winter in the region, the teams had trouble creating high-quality scoring chances although the Odense Bulldogs seemed to have the upper hand for most of the first two periods.
“I think we did an okay game but not more. They played smarter than us and scored on the chances we gave them. If you don’t score goals it’s tough to win,” Odense forward Robin Sterner said.
With 23.5 seconds left in the second period the game direction would change. The first goal was scored and it was Panthers captain Moran who did it after a pass to the crease from Stephen Schultz. The 37-year-old Canadian already scored the lead in the teams’ November clash. And that was just the start. When the Panthers had their first power play of the game in the third period Moran converted a horizontal pass from Jeff Brown to make it 2-0 for the British.
The Danes tried everything late in the game, took a time-out, pulled the goaltender but nothing helped. Miika Wiikman defended his shutout performance and the Panthers celebrated another win in their Continental Cup campaign and in a British comeback in the final after seven years.
For the Nottingham Panthers the dream of winning the tournament stays very well alive before tomorrow’s afternoon game with Kazakh champion Beibarys Atyrau. The Odense Bulldogs will need to beat host Ritten Sport tomorrow evening to keep its chances alive.