On November 11th, the Panthers and Nutmeggers played out a preview of the first-ever Indoor League Final. Having both already secured their position in the campaign’s ultimate match, the dead rubber game provided each side with one last opportunity to test out each other’s strategies and suss out the weak areas.
With nothing to lose, the sides began the match with numerous back and forth runs designed to create plenty of shots. Panthers’ captain Sean opened scoring directly off the throw-in, punching a shot in from just off the far wall. After 5 minutes gone, Sean, Aaron, Lawrence, and John had all opened up their scoring tallies for the night – Panthers 5, Nutmeggers 4. The middle of the first period kept coming up Panthers, with their 10-5 lead starting to resemble a first-match repeat. However, a surge in the period’s last 2 minutes saw the contest paused at Panthers 12, Nutmeggers 9 heading into the intermission.
The Nutmeggers started the second period strongly by steadily chipping away at the Panthers’ lead. Scores from Chris, Nic, and John cut the deficit to 1 with 9:30 remaining before Leon buried a close-range effort to stall the Nutmeggers’ grind – Panthers 16, Nutmeggers 14. Aaron’s deep shot threat began to emerge more for the Panthers starting around halfway through Period 2. A “chop” from Nic presented the Panthers with the power play as a means to extend the lead. The Nutmeggers successfully defended all but one shot on the kill and struck back a goal of their own. Despite their press, the Nutmeggers could not shorten the gap. Panthers 23, Nutmeggers 21.
The final period started with the Nutmeggers on the power play after a hit by Pat (picked up for the Panthers off the waiver wire) was deemed to be 2 minutes in the box. The player advantage helped the spicy side tie the score up at 23. From there, neither team managed to pull away. With 5 minutes remaining in the game, the Nutmeggers and Panthers had inched their way to 28 a piece. Late goals by Leon and Panthers-pickup Pat ensured that the undefeated side remained so after edging out the contest in the final minutes. Final score: Panthers 34, Nutmeggers 32.
Get decked out and come down for the Hurloween holiday!
Details to follow.