Elite League: Belfast Giants 5-4 Nottingham Panthers
The Belfast Giants beat Nottingham Panthers 5-4 at the SSE Arena to move to within one point of Elite League leaders Cardiff Devils.
James Desmarais scored three goals for the hosts, with Jim Vandermeer and David Rutherford also finding the net.
Jeff Brown, Chris Lawrence, Robert Farmer and Matt Carter netted for the Panthers who could not find an equaliser despite a frantic finale.
The Giants host Dundee on Saturday while leaders Cardiff face Coventry.
The hosts got off to the prefect start as Vandermeer fired them into the lead in the second minute, the former NHL defenseman blasting the puck in past Miika Wiikman in the Panthers goal.
That lead was extended by Rutherford in the 12th minute, firing in a rebound off Wiikman - and within 39 seconds it was 3-0 as Desmarais added to the Giants' total.
The hapless Wiikman was subsequently replaced in goal for the Panthers by Jindrich Pacl with only 12 minutes played.
Brown got Nottingham on the scoreboard early in the third period but Desmarais' second goal of the night restored the three score lead.
Lawrence then made it 4-2 with seven minutes to go, only for the Giants and Desmarais to respond again within sixty seconds.
The Panthers pressed again and got it back to 5-4 with late goals from Farmer and Carter to set up a thrilling finish, which included a good save by Jackson Whistle in the final minute.