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Page last updated at 12:22 GMT, Friday, 2 October 2009 13:22 UK

No 'easy nights' for top Panthers

Nottingham Panthers

Netminder Kevin St Pierre insists that Nottingham Panthers cannot afford to sit back this season as they continue their quest for silverware.

Panthers, who have lost just once in their first nine league and cup games, host Belfast on Saturday (1900 BST) with a one-point Elite League lead.

St Pierre told BBC Radio Nottingham: "As we've seen there's not going to be any easy nights out.

"I hear the league has changed a lot from before and there's no weak teams."

Panthers' only defeat came on the road in Newcastle. But they have already beaten Coventry (twice), Sheffield and Belfast, three teams also tipped for silverware this season.

"Some nights we haven't played great," said St Pierre. "But we're finding a way to win.

"We've played from behind and with a lead, and we've come up big.

"It's going to be a long, grinding season and we have to go out there and play hard every night.

"If you don't play hard every night you don't deserve to be a hockey player."

Panthers are also involved on Sunday at the Sheffield Arena in the inaugural 20/20 Hockeyfest, a competition which pitches together all eight Elite League teams in a one-off winner-takes-all knockout tournament that will be settled on the day.

All games will be played in two 20-minute running clock periods. And each side will only be allowed to field four skaters at any one time.

Panthers, who face Coventry in their quarter-final, have Swedish forward Johan Molin flying in to be part of the squad so that Kevin Bergin can have a rest.

"Bergy's ankle is still sore," said player-coach Corey Neilson, "so we will give him that time off.

"The guys just love having Moley around. The fans love him. He is so strong, so fast and has great puck control. He will be great out there."

Full coverage of the 20-20 Hockeyfest from the Sheffield Arena, from the first quarter-final through to the grand final in the evening.

To listen log on to www.bbc.co.uk/nottingham



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see also
Panthers remain grounded - Meyers
28 Sep 09 |  Ice Hockey
Panthers swoop for new netminder
15 May 09 |  Ice Hockey


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