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Vipers stun Panthers in Cup semi-final first leg

Newcastle Vipers celebrate
Vipers scored four goals in the second period

Newcastle Vipers hold a one-goal lead in the first leg of their Challenge Cup semi-final against Nottingham Panthers after a 4-3 victory in Whitley Bay.

Panthers had led 2-0 with goals for David-Alexandre Beauregard and David Clarke either side of the first break.

But Vipers hit four straight, through Kyle Sibley, Mike Prpich, Dean Holland and Toms Hartmanis.

Jade Galbraith pulled a goal back with four minutes remaining - the second leg is in Nottingham on Sunday.

Vipers coach Danny Stewart said: "It's a fantastic result. We keep mentioning our short bench and depleted roster and to go out and beat a team of Nottingham's calibre and their skill, it's an amazing achievement.

"No excuses, our key players didn't play like key players"

Corey Neilson

"It shows that if guys buy in to a certain style of play and everyone is on the same page, you can have success."

Panthers coach Corey Neilson added: "We were terrible around the net, I don't think our forwards battled hard enough.

"You have to be a man and take responsibility and put pucks on the net.

"They [Newcastle] played very well as a team, but right now our team is going through a tough time.

"They are playing with no confidence, no swagger, they are down on themselves and we have got to find a way to get that confidence back.

"It wasn't good enough on Wednesday night, no excuses, our key players didn't play like key players."

Nottingham are the reigning Challenge Cup champions after beating Cardiff in last year's final.



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