Nottingham Panthers reach Continental Cup Super Final

Nottingham Panthers
Nottingham's success in Europe has come as a welcome distraction after six successive defeats in the Elite League

Nottingham Panthers will play for a major European ice hockey title in January, after reaching the Super Final of the Continental Cup.

Corey Neilson's Panthers side won their third round group stage over the weekend, with wins in their opening two matches securing top spot in the group.

The back-to-back wins ensured defeat in their last match was irrelevant.

They will play a four-team group final on the weekend of 13-15 January 2017, but the venue has not yet been decided.

Danish club Odense Bulldogs, Ritten Sport from Italy, and Kazakhstan club Beibarys Atyrau are the other three teams who have made it through.

Panthers, who have lost six in a row in the Elite League and have dropped to sixth place, began their "semi-final" group matches with a close-fought 5-4 win over the hosts, Odense.

Ollie Betteridge opened the scoring, and though the Danes equalised, Brad Moran, Matt Carter and Petr Kalus then put Nottingham 4-1 up. Brian McGrattan added another to make it 5-2 in the third period, and though Odense scored twice more, the Panthers held on for the victory.

A second win secured their place in the final, and again it was close, as Panthers saw off French club Angers Ducs 4-3. They twice fell behind, with Jeff Brown and Brad Moran equalising, before Kristian Kudroc put them in front for the first time at 3-2. McGrattan was on target again to make it 4-2, with Angers replying in the final minute.

Panthers lost 3-1 to Ukrainian side Donbass in their final match, with Moran on the scoresheet.

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