Last night saw the opening game of the British Elite League, and one of the games saw my boys at home, the Nottingham Panthers, take on the Belfast Giants (yes, the team thats going to be hosting the Bruins in a month's time).
Naturally, of course, I had to attend this sure-to-be-classic opening game - last year the Panthers won the Challenge Cup, and the Giants won the playoffs, and these two teams, along with the Coventry Blaze, are favoured to top the league throughout the season.
It proved to be an excitingly close game! We came out of the gates well, strong and defensive against the feared Giants' offence. Our new goalie (who, incidently, happens to be an old Hurricanes 2000 draft pick Craig Kowalski! Does anyone remember him? He's way before my time lol) let in two softies in the first five minutes which only proved to be a good thing in the long run as he and the rest of the team played near perfect hockey (well as near perfect as our league can get =P) to take the game into overtime with a score of 3-3. A tense period of overtime resulted in no goal so it went down to a shootout which took 7 rounds before the Panthers took the game winner! The building was going nuts, the players were elated, and the Giants got to sulk! What a perfect way to start the season! (Even if we had a clear goal in the 4th round of the shootout disallowed by a questionable ref - unfortunately we don't have the privilege of video replay!)
In all, I just wanted to express my love for this great sport, and after a long and tedious summer I am overjoyed that I can revel in it again! I just hope that my fellow Canes fans have a speedy last month so you can join in on the marvel that is live hockey! Traverse City and training camp not too far away now, and Helsinki is nearing fast! Three cheers for hockey!
Canes and Panthers for the win!! =D