After losing to the Wolfpack for the first time last year, the Panthers won the teams’ first meeting of the year, taking the lead for good late and holding on for the 11-10 road win.
“We never quit,” said Lakeside coach Ron Ritter, whose team trailed briefly in the third period. “They played us really hard, but if we hadn’t made a lot of errors, it wouldn’t have been that close.”
The Panthers improved to 4-0 with the win while the Wolfpack dropped to 2-2.
Panthers attacker Justin Wells came into the game with 14 goals in the team’s first three games, but Wolfpack goalie Alan Troutman did a good job stopping him on some point-blank shots throughout the contest, limiting him to one goal heading into the fourth period. With 6:30 left in the game, however, Wells would not be denied as he curled around the net and fired the ball past Troutman for the game-winning goal.
After a save by Panthers goalie Doug Horn with 2:19 left in the game, the Panthers were able to run out the clock without another serious threat.
Horn finished with seven saves for the Panthers.
The Panthers and the Wolfpack played to a 6-6 tie in a preseason scrimmage, but it looked like the Panthers would run away with the game from the start, jumping out to a 4-1 lead with three minutes left in the first period.
Austin Brown scored two of his game-high four goals in the run.
The Panthers took advantage of Wolfpack penalties, scoring twice while the Wolfpack had a man in the penalty box.
As they would throughout the rest of the game, the Wolfpack refused to go away and cut the lead to 5-3 heading into the second half.