Cardiff Devils 3 - 6 Nottingham Panthers
Faceoff: 18:00 - 24/03/13
Despite another spirited effort, the Cardiff Devils finished their league campaign with defeat to the league champions. Though they took the lead early in the game, the extra depth in the Nottingham Panthers side helped them pull away in the final period and finish their own league season on a high.
In a tense first period with few chances it was Cardiff who took the lead after 12 minutes. Chris Jones chased down the loose puck behind the Nottingham net and when it was only cleared to Kenton Smith on the blue line, he picked out Ben Davies who took one touch before firing past Dan Green.
Goals from Robert Lachowicz and Matt Francis either side of the period break put the Panthers in the lead, but the Devils quickly hit back. With Nottingham on the powerplay, Stuart MacRae broke down the right wing before picking out Max Birbraer to score a short-handed goal to tie the game.
The game was finely poised until two quick penalties against Chris Blight and Kenton Smith gave Nottingham a 5-on-3 powerplay, allowing David Clarke to power in a slapshot from the blueline to restore their lead.
A Matt Myers goal early in the third period extended Nottingham's lead further before a laser of a wrist-shot from Clarke made it 5-2 to the Panthers and saw Chris Whitley make way for Joe Myers. Ben Davies gave Cardiff hope when he combined with Chris Jones to fire a shot over Green's shoulder and cut the lead to just two.
Penalties to Kelsey Wilson and Jason Beckett then gave the Devils their own 5-on-3 powerplay, but despite being awarded a penalty shot they could not find another goal and with four minutes remaining David Ling added a 6th to seal the win for the Panthers.