Finnerty: Panthers favourites for cup progress

Braehead Clan Head Coach Ryan Finnerty insists Nottingham Panthers are the favourites to progress in the Elite Challenge Cup, following his team’s narrow 5-4 defeat in the first leg of their quarter-final tie on Wednesday.

Corey Neilson’s team are in pole position despite a valiant Clan fightback that saw them claw their way back from four goals down after the first period.

He said: “I was very pleased at the outcome although after the first 20 minutes – it wasn’t looking too good for us.

“The guys showed their resilience and battled back to get themselves back into the competition and we’re in a good position for the second leg.

“At the end of the day, Nottingham won the game and are the favourites coming back here next week. We’re still playing catch-up despite how the match ended.

“The difference is they’ll have the long journey and we look to jump on that the way they did to us and take advantage of that.”

Finnerty revealed there was a slightly different approach to the game by the team after a great run in the league heading into the tie.

He also gave an insight into his thinking as the Clan returned to the locker room four down after a whirlwind first period.

He added: “We had a different mindset going into the game where it was a six-period game and it’s important every shift counts.

“Anything can happen and after losing the first period the way we did, we were pretty dejected and talked about it when we got back to the locker room.

“The way I saw it at that point, we still had five periods to go and win the game, but we got going with the powerplay goal then got another one to take it to the third.

“It was a setback when the Panthers got their fifth one, but then our captain stepped up to drag us back and the third line made it 5-4 to set things up for next week.”

(Image permission: Karl Denham)

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