Bit of a change of plan today. Originally i was going to take in the Imps home match with Braintree Town. This game was brought froward from the 14th of February as both sides had a blank weekend due to neither club having any interest in the FA Trophy. Now it looks as if the game will be moved back to Valentines day. So that gets all Imps fans out of paying for an overpriced meal that evening, see there is always a plus side Imps fans. Instead of taking your better half out for a meal, offer to take her down the Bank with a romantic pre match meal of large doner kebab with all the sauces washed down with a good couple of pints of beer, and if she doesn't appreciate that then she really doesn't know how lucky she is!
With the Imps having a day off i had a few choices; 1)Sit in and watch the rugga (Not going to happen!) 2) sit at home and drink. or 3) watch the Nottingham Panthers. Given the three choices option three was by far the most appealing , or so i thought. The weather forecast had given out snow but as hardened Retford folk we didn't let that put us off, besides we rarely get bad snow here in North Nottinghamshire do we?
We left Retford just after 3.30pm and just as the snow began to fall. It wasn't very heavy and it didn't look like it was going to settle. As we got to the outskirts of Nottingham however the snow became much heavier and i started to think that spending a day in the pub may well have been the better option after all. We hadn't bought tickets before the game, but seeing how Dundee isn't the most attractive opposition, we knew that there would be plenty of tickets available for purchase on the door. The main plus of buying on the door is that you save £3 per ticket by paying cash for them, since if you pre order online you get stung for an "administration" charge. You have to pay the charge even if you print you tickets out at home. Robbing twats is the phrase i am looking for.
Instead of going to the pub pre match we headed to the Arena bar; two cokes came in £4.60. On the Olympic rink outside the bar a youth match was going on between the Nottingham Cougars and the Solihull Barons. It seems youth games are played in three periods of 15 minutes so we watched the first two. The Nottingham side was coasting it 6-0 when we left. Given that this was being played it seemed strange to me that more Panthers fans had stayed in the bar to watch the Rugby on the large screen even though you could take your drinks outside to watch the hockey. Each to their own though i suppose.
I fit Panthers games around Lincoln ones and this season it has worked out that i have seen the Panthers take on the Stars three times now this season. Over the course of the season though it would seem that the Stars have gone backwards, and going into this game they were bottom of the Elite league. On their last two visits to Nottingham they have lost 6-0 and 5-4. They were soon on the back foot in this game as the Panthers dominated from the off and after missing several good chances strolled into a two goal lead. Then just as it was starting to look comfortable for the Panthers, Dundee hit back to make it 2-1. Thankfully the Panthers scored a third with about 30 seconds left to play at the end of the 1st to give the scoreline a more realistic look.
The roads around Nottingham were pretty shitty so we decided to head back via the M1, M18, and A1, and although it took alot longer than normal we made it back safely thanks to some great driving from the missus and navigating from myself. Maybe next time the weatherman says it will snow we will stay at home.
In other Panthers news we now know that we will face the Belfast Giants in the Challenge Cup final after they dispatched the Cardiff Devils 5-3 on aggregate. The Panthers have won the last two Challenge Cups and defeated Belfast in the final last year. The league looks beyond the Panthers where as Belfast are in the thick of the title race so the pressure is on Nottingham to claim some silverware.