Challenge Cup Quarter Final 2nd Leg – Braehead Clan v Nottingham Panthers

First of all, for anyone living in the Glasgow area a visit to the Braehead Arena to watch the Clan is a must! The atmosphere is electric (at times!) and friendly (always!), it is a great spectacle of sport and one which I highly recommend you go and see.

THE CHALLENGE CUP QF

The game began in typical Clan fashion, lights out; the arena is coated in darkness as the spotlights circle around the expectant fans, over the tannoy the crowd is psyched by the familiar sound of Escala by Palladio which explodes into the Joker and the Thiefs popular Wolfmother track, the fans are excited, the hands and are going and the Clan enter the arena one by one, each player is given a heroes welcome onto the ice. Truly a spectacular scene to behold, and the game hasn’t even kicked off yet (pucked off – not sure if that’s quite correct)

To set the scene, the Clan are a goal down having lost 5 – 4 to the Nottingham Panthers in the first leg of the Challenge Cup Quarter Final. This was a dramatic affair in itself. The Clan showed great determination at the National Ice Centre to come back from 4 – 0 down to keep their cup run alive. Although they finished the game with a 5 – 4 defeat, they left Nottingham optimistic that they could overturn the one goal deficit on home soil (ice). The scoreboard at the Braehead Arena displayed Clan 0 – 1 Panthers. The pressure was on, the stage was set, time for the face off.

THE FIRST PERIOD

The Clan started the game looking very sharp, and the crowd was right behind their Purple Army. Braeheads positive start was rewarded with an early goal for number 16 Chris Bruton. An early equaliser had the crowd buzzing! It seemed like this could be the Clans night, but the Panthers had other ideas and with 6 minutes left to play in the 1st period the Panthers scored to take the lead at 2 – 1. Nottingham struck again, 2 minutes later, to pile on the Clans misery; two goals in the 1st period, 3 – 1 up going into the first break – devastation for the Clan. There was a missed opportunity in the final minutes of the 1st period when the Clan failed to capitalise on an important power play when the Panthers number 45, Steve Lee, served a 2 minute penalty.

To summarise, it was a great start by the Braehead Clan but they found themselves on the back foot for much of the 1st period. It’s not quite mission impossible yet though, they did come back from being 4 – 0 down in the first leg.

THE SECOND PERIOD

It was a rather uninspiring 2nd period. The first bit of excitement came with 9 minutes to play when the Panthers Steven Lee found himself in the sin bin for the second time of the evening. This was an opportunity for the Clan to claim a goal back but they were unsuccessful in gaining from the advantage. With 5 minutes remaining in the period the Clans number 6, Scott Aarssenn, was made to serve a penalty leaving Braehead with 5 men on the ice.

There was some entertainment towards the end of the 2nd period when a controversial ricochet helped the puck land at the heel of the netminder (that’s the guy in the goals) who hadn’t a clue it had crept up behind him. The crowd gasped and were instantly relieved when the puck was directed far away from the goal mouth. One move and it could have gone horribly wrong for netminder, Travis Fullerton.

Shortly after this incident the Panthers further increased their lead with their third goal of the night. The goal scorer was King of the Sin Bin, Steven Lee. The Braehead fans were put through the mill towards the dying minutes of the 2nd period; 4 – 1 down and 5 men on the field as Chris Bruton was made to serve a penalty – things were not looking good. Alas, the Clan endured and their number 5 Ben Davies gave us a laugh and entertained the crowd with his terrific left peg after he lost his stick to the ice. Good effort from Davies who continued to defend despite the fact his stick lay flat on the ground.

The laughter didn’t last long, and in the final minute of the 2nd period the Panthers secured their fourth goal of the night taking a 5 – 1 lead.

As one Clan fan put it, “Time to wake up!”

Overall, a timid and uninspiring display from the Purple Army.

THE THIRD PERIOD

Despite a strong start, the home side lost another goal at the hands of the ruthless Nottingham Panthers. Their fifth of the evening and the score was 6 – 1. The home fans remained in good spirit, and continued to chant for their beloved Purple Army in spite of the disastrous result.

The Clans pattern of play was far more direct and aggressive in the final period. But it was too little, too late for Braehead. Still, they soldiered on and continued to entertain the fans.

CLAN GOAL!!! Number 49, Brendan Brooks! Restoring some faith to the Clan crowd! The score was now 6 – 2.

CLAN GOAL!!! With seconds remaining the Clan score their third goal of the match. Captain Keith Matt gets his first and the last goal of the match. The game finished 6 – 3.

If only Braehead started as they finished. It wasn’t to be, but what a terrific night!

THE PURPLE ARMY

I have been to the Braehead Arena on many occasions, and it never fails to impress me. Crowd attendance is magnificent, the chants are great, the people are friendly and the camaraderie is second to none, as is the entertainment. Even with tonight’s dreadful defeat, consequently leading to cup elimination, it was yet again an outstanding night.

This truly is one of Glasgow’s greatest weekly events. Please get yourself along, I promise you’ll be hookeed!

PS. You can have a wee drink at the game! (If you’re 18 and over of course)

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