Hat-tricks from Dustin Johner, on his 900th career game, and Kyle Baun, helped the Stena Line Belfast Giants defeat the Nottingham Panthers 8-5 in Belfast.
Jordan Smotherman stepped off a plane and scored on his debut with Darcy Murphy the other scorer in a thirteen goal thriller at The SSE Arena.
Tyler Beskorowany backstopped the Giants to the win with the home side missing Guillaume Gelinas, Pat Dwyer and Andrew Dickson.
Seven Goals In Opening Period
Kyle Baun opened the scoring at 5:44, finishing off a sweeping Giants move, assisted by Darcy Murphy.
Dustin Johner doubled the hosts lead at 7:08 with a cool finish, assisted by Jim Vandermeer.
Tommy Hughes started the Nottingham fightback at 8:14, assisted by Chris Stewart, before Stewart posted a goal of his own at 9:04, assisted by Alex Guptil, as the Panthers drew level in Belfast.
Kyle Baun netted his second of the game to restore the Giants lead at 14:08, assisted by David Rutherford and Darcy Murphy.
Baun and Murphy combined well for the Giants fourth of the game at 14:39 with Belfast’s #15 finishing well past Michael Garnett in the Nottingham net.
However the Panthers pulled one back right at the end of the opening period as Robert Farmer squeezed the puck past Tyler Beskorowany.
Panthers Draw Level In Middle Period
Jon Rheault fired home the equaliser for Nottingham at 24:59, assisted by Chris Stewart and Justin Kovacs.
Giants Restore Advantage
Dustin Johner’s smooth finish only 41 seconds into the final period, assisted by Kyle Baun and David Rutherford, edged the hosts in front once again and the forward netted his hat-trick at 53:11, assisted by Chris Higgins.
With Garnett pulled, Brett Perlini pulled one back for the Panthers at 58:38, assisted by Robert Farmer and Alex Guptil.
The Giants responded with an empty net goal of their own at 58:57 as Kyle Baun finished off, assisted by Darcy Murphy and Dustin Johner.
Jordan Smotherman, making his debut for the Giants after taking to the ice after getting off a flight, sealed the win at 59:05, assisted by Blair Riley and Jonathan Ferland.
Stena Line Belfast Giants 8-5 Nottingham Panthers
Giants Player of the Game
#12 Kyle Baun (3 Goals + 2 Assists)
The Giants return to the ice again next weekend with back-to-back Elite League games against the Guildford Flames on Friday and Saturday at The SSE Arena. Then the Giants travel to Nottingham on Sunday, face-off 4pm.
Tickets are now on sale from the Arena Box Office in person or by calling (028) – no longer available – as well as online from ticketmaster.ie.