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Page last updated at 10:01 GMT, Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Late Nottingham Panthers show defeats Coventry Blaze

Corey Nielson
Neilson is under pressure after seeing Panthers slip to fourth in the League

Player-coach Corey Neilson left it late to inspire Nottingham Panthers to a dramatic and potentially job-saving 3-1 home victory over Coventry Blaze.

Neilson, who is under pressure after seeing Panthers slip out of the Elite League title race, saw Blaze go ahead through Dan Carlson on 47 minutes.

But Neilson pushed himself forward and bagged the equaliser, before assisting on Jeff Heerema's goal a minute later.

And David Clarke's empty-net marker sealed the win with 17 seconds left.

The first two periods ended goalless with Panthers netminder Craig Kowalski and counterpart Brett Jaeger both in top form.

We are finding ways to lose games...We switch off, we can't seem to play for 60 minutes

Blaze coach Paul Thompson

But Carlson's 19th goal of the season finally broke the deadlock and looked likely to set Blaze on their way to victory in a tense game.

However Neilson led from the front to level the scores and Heerema and Clarke ensured a much-needed Panthers success.

Neilson said: "The way things have gone we had to put the preference on the win and the win was the big thing tonight.

"From goaltender outwards it was a really good show.

"It was a collective performance and we all bought into it. The team belief was there."

Blaze head coach Paul Thompson said: "I have never been so frustrated in my career. We are finding ways to lose games.

"We had to weather the storm in the first period but we came out and were the better team in the second period and for the first 14 minutes of the third we were comfortable.

"But once again we conceded twice in a minute because of a breakdown and not picking up a guy. We switch off, we can't seem to play for 60 minutes.

"We have lost so many games by conceding goals in the last five minutes of games, we just can't close them out, it is so frustrating."



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