Penalties Prove Costly For Giants in Cardiff
The Belfast Giants battled the elements to get to Wales on Saturday night, taking on the Cardiff Devils with a delayed face off in the midst of Storm Arwen. However, they will spend the journey home rueing 3 avoidable penalties that led to the Devils remaining unbeaten in the second meeting of the sides this season.
Despite a JJ Piccinich double, Adam Keefe’s men could not find a way back from three Devils power play goals, before Trevor Cox found the empty net to ice the game for the hosts at the death.
Belfast faced their opening penalty kill of the night at just 3:05, a questionable cross checking call on Slater Doggett which raised puzzled eyebrows from all sides.
The Giants penalty kill unit pressed high in a successful first outing, and their aggressive forechecking continued back at even strength.
A Matt Register interference call at 9:31 proved fruitless for the Giants on their opening power play, but JJ Piccinich more than made up for it at 18:41 with a lightning wrist shot from the right circle, beating Cardiff goalie Mac Carruth as Brandon McNally sat for holding. (0-1)
An avoidable Sam Ruopp delay of game penalty proved costly for the Giants after the drop, as Brodie Reid tied it from close range on the power play at 19:24. (Assist: Justin Crandall, Matt Register). (1-1)
Belfast failed to convert on the power play 8 minutes into an attritional middle period, as Brendan Mikkelson headed to the box for interference at 28:02.
Cardiff’s second goal of the game meanwhile was scored, once again, on the power play as Jeff Baum sat for hooking at 34:42.
This time, it was Brandon McNally who struck from the edge of Tyler Beskorwany’s crease, keeping his stick down to meet a Justin Crandall cross ice pass to edge the hosts in front at 35:58. (2-1)
The Giants looked certain to have tied it in the dying minutes of the period as the puck glided towards Jordan Boucher, poised in space at Mac Carruth’s unguarded left post, but the Giants Forward somehow did not connect.
Belfast headed in at the interval up in the shot count by 31 to 18.
Brandon McNally sat for interference at 48:55, but it was back at even strength when the Giants found their equaliser as JJ Piccinich doubled his tally and tied the game at 51:47 (Assist: Cam Knight, Griffin Reinhart). (2-2)
The goal scorer took an interference penalty of his own at 53:58, opening the door for Cardiff’s third power play goal of the night, and a second for Brandon McNally, at 54:56 (Assist: Brodie Reid, Stephen Dixon). (3-2)
Adam Keefe rolled the dice early and pulled Tyler Beskorowany in favour of the extra skater with just over 2 minutes left. However, it was Trevor Cox who struck first- flipping the puck from just outside the blue line into the empty net, and icing the game at 58:57 (Assist: Cole Sanford, Mark Richardson). (4-2)
The Belfast Giants return home on Sunday to take on the Dundee Stars in Premier Sports Elite League action. Faceoff at the SSE Arena is 4:00pm and tickets are still on sale. Grab yours now!