The Stena Line Belfast Giants defeated the Coventry Blaze away on Wednesday to take the Elite League title race to the final weekend of the season. A first period hat-trick from Pat Dwyer helped the Giants close the gap on the Cardiff to two points with two games remaining.
The Giants impressed on Wednesday in Coventry with goals from Dwyer (x3), Boxill, Ferland, D.Murphy and Shields keeping up their chase on the Cardiff Devils.
Next up for the Giants is two home games to finish the season at The SSE Arena this Friday and Saturday against the Fife Flyers and Dundee Stars respectively.
Tyler Beskorowany backstopped the Giants to Wednesday’s win with the Belfast side missing Guillaume Gelinas, Dustin Johner and Andrew Dickson.
Dwyer Dominates Opening Period
The Giants were dominant in the opening 20 minutes of action. First, it was Pat Dwyer who opened the scoring at 5:41, impressively batting the puck out of the air.
Dwyer doubled his and the Giants tally at 9:16 when he and Blair Riley combined well.
Jonathan Boxill gave the visitors a three goal advantage at 13:32 after picking up on the rebound to slot into the roof of the Blaze goal.
Boxill then dropped the gloves with Coventry’s Kevin Noble at 18:33 when the Blaze player put in a late hit on Lewis Hook.
Dwyer made it a first period hat trick at 19:14 with a cool unassisted finish, shorthanded, to give the Giants a four goal lead after 20 minutes.
Giants And Blaze Trade Second Period Blows
Belfast picked up where they left off in the opening period when Jonathan Ferland slotted home at 21:17, assisted by Chris Higgins.
Coventry pulled one back at 36:53 through Alex Nikiforuk, assisted by Ross Venus and Thom Flodqvist.
Belfast Seal Road Win
Ben Lake made it a three goal game at 41:05 when his shot from the blueline found the back of the Giants net, assisted by Thom Flodqvist and Alex Nikiforuk.
The Blaze gambled late in the game and, with the netminder pulled for the extra outskater, Darcy Murphy fired in his record breaking 46th goal of the season at 55:06 – the most by any Giant player in a single season.
Colin Shields rounded off the scoring 25 seconds later, assisted by Jonathan Ferland and Chris Higgins, just over 24 hours after announcing his upcoming retirement from the sport.
Coventry Blaze 2-7 Stena Line Belfast Giants
Giants Player of the Game
#39 Pat Dwyer (3 Goals + 1 Assist)
The Giants will end their regular season this Friday and Saturday with back-to-back home games against the Fife Flyers and Dundee Stars respectively.
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.