The Stena Line Belfast Giants pulled off a commanding win at The SSE Arena on Saturday night, slamming the visiting Glasgow Clan by a score of 5-2. The Giants now face the Guildford Flames away on Sunday.
The Giants received goals from Elgin Pearce (x2), Curtis Hamilton, David Goodwin, and Paul Swindlehurst and were aided by a strong, 19-save performance in net from Shane Owen. The win was pulled off in front of an exuberant, sold-out crowd on hand to celebrate the Elite Ice Hockey League’s first-ever Pride Weekend.
The Giants remain in third place with 46 points from 37 games, nine points behind the league leading Sheffield Steelers in first place with 55 points from 39 games and two points behind the Cardiff Devils with 48 points from 35 games.
Shane Owen started in the Belfast net and posted 19 saves with the Giants missing Pat Mullen and Liam Reddox.
Grabbing An Early Lead
The Giants would open the scoring just a few minutes into the game at 6:56. The team killed off a two-minute penalty taken by Elgin Pearce for tripping, and then, as Pearce came out of the penalty box, he picked up the puck, worked it into the offensive zone, and ripped a snipe from the high slot over goaltender Jordan McLaughlin’s shoulder. The goal was Pearce’s seventh since joining the Giants just over a month ago.
At 14:53, the Giants would extend their lead to 2-0. After the team maintained consistent pressure in Glasgow’s zone and wore the Clan down, Curtis Hamilton picked the puck up along the half wall, walked it back to the blueline, and fired a shot that made its way through a screened McLaughlin. The goal was Hamilton’s team-leading 13th in league play this season.
The Giants would carry that 2-0 lead into the first intermission while also leading 10-5 in shots on goal.
Just 25 seconds after the puck dropped to kick off the second frame, the Giants would extend their lead to 3-0. Ben Lake carried the puck up the middle of the ice and fed it off to David Goodwin who roofed a wrist shot from the face-off circle over McLaughlin. The goal was Goodwin’s eighth in league play this season.
Glasgow would finally get themselves on the board at the half-way point of the period. With Ryan Lowney in the penalty box for hooking, Nolan LaPorte fired a puck past Shane Owen to bring the score to 3-1 in favour of Belfast. Shortly after that, the Giants would lock down on the penalty kill, fending off back-to-back two-minute penalties to Elgin Pearce and Brian Ward to maintain their two-goal lead.
Belfast would head into the second intermission with a 3-1 lead and a 17-16 edge in shots on goal.
Cruising To Victory
Just over a minute into the third period, Glasgow would shrink the lead to just one goal. Matt Haywood picked up the puck on a turnover at the Giants’ blueline and wired a shot past a screened Owen to make the score 3-2.
It wouldn’t take long for the Giants to regain their cushion. With the team on the man advantage, Curtis Hamilton fired a puck on net from the point and Elgin Pearce buried the rebound for his second goal of the game. The goal, which came at 45:16, gave Belfast a 4-2 lead. At 48:40, the Giants would extend their lead to 5-2 when Paul Swindlehurst roofed a one-timer from the point over McLaughlin. The goal was Swindlehurst’s second of the season.
The Giants would slam the door for the rest of the third frame, cruising to a 5-2 victory.
Stena Line Belfast Giants 5-2 Glasgow Clan
Player of the Game
#70 Curtis Hamilton (1 Goal + 1 Assist)
Next up for the Giants is the Guildford Flames away on Sunday, face-off 6pm. Belfast then face the Cardiff Devils in back-to-back games at home on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd February. Tickets are available online now at ticketmaster.ie.