David Clarke calls for Nottingham Panthers caution

David Clarke

Nottingham Panthers forward David Clarke has urged caution despite his side leading by four goals after the first leg of the Challenge Cup final.

The Panthers won 5-1 in Belfast with goals from Clarke, Brandon Benedict, Brock Wilson, Matt Francis and David-Alexandre Beauregard.

Clarke told BBC Radio Nottingham: "We are not getting ahead of ourselves here, it is only halfway.

"We were geared up to go from the first shift, everybody brought their A game."

Panthers, who have won the Challenge Cup in three of the last four years, beat Belfast in last year's final.

The Giants had beaten the Panthers in four of the five league meetings between the two sides and look set to win the Elite League title.

"You know you have got to play Belfast at the top of your game," added Clarke. "They are a great club and have proved that all season."

Clarke scored Nottingham's fifth goal on 59:59 and reveals he was on the end of something similar in the early days of his career in 2001.

"Ironically enough I have been on the receiving end of it against the Panthers playing for Newcastle," remembered Clarke.

"A guy called Robert Nordmark scored a goal, a guy a lot of people in Nottingham still talk about it, and that was to knock Newcastle out of play-off contention.

"So yes, I have been on the end of pretty much that exact play and it was nice to be on the good side of it."

The second leg is in Nottingham on Tuesday, 13 March and Panthers return to Elite League action on Thursday night with a trip to Dundee Stars.