With one group game left (a rematch with Glasgow at the SSE Arena, Belfast, on Saturday evening at 7:00pm), the Giants have already secured qualification to the knockout round, and will finish top of Group A.
The Belfast Giants burst into life early, with David Goodwin striking Glasgow goalie Zach Driscoll’s post after just 30 seconds.
A hit on the Clan’s Steven McParland by Kevin Raine in his defensive zone drew the ire of Brad Kennedy at 1:30. The pair exchanged shots in a spirited early tilt which ended in a stalemate.
Glasgow opened the scoring at 5:50 when Mitch Jones’ shot from the left circle was rebounded by Jackson Whistle into the path of Mathieu Roy. (1-0)
After a mid-period delay to repair a smashed pane of plexiglass in the Giants’ zone, the visitors pounced. David Goodwin’s forced turnover behind the Clan net was squared across the slot to a crashing Scott Conway who thundered a shot past the blocker of Driscoll at 11:01. (1-1)
John Dunbar’s hooking call at 20:55 handed the Giants their first power play of the game, but a gradually improving Clan penalty kill unit turned away the threat.
As the game neared the half hour mark, the penalty boxes filled. Will Cullen’s slashing call at 28:28 sent Glasgow onto an opening power play of their own. A desperate scramble in front of Jackson Whistle left the Giants goalie without his mask, leading to roughing calls for teammates Matt Foley and Ben Lake, along with Brad Kennedy and Gary Haden at 28:43.
A fine piece of individual skill from Steven McParland on the power play promptly tied the game, dangling his way inside from Whistle’s left at 29:34. (2-2)
Belfast headed into the second intermission with the lead after Scott Conway’s hat trick goal at 38:45, marking yet another standout night for Adam Keefe’s ace. (2-3)
Jackson Whistle dug deep and turned away a barrage of shots in the dying seconds of an early Glasgow power play, as Kevin Raine sat for slashing at 40:54.
Whistle was called upon again in the 48th
minute, shutting the door on a Jordan Buesa breakaway effort with a spectacular pad save.
In a scrappy close to the game, Steven McParland sent Belfast onto a short-lived power play with a hooking call at 52:44. He was followed by Glasgow’s Mitch Jones, along with Belfast’s Darik Angeli and Ben Lake for roughing calls at 53:52.
With just over a minute remaining, Zach Driscoll left his net and headed for the bench, as the Clan iced the extra skater. A whistle with 20 seconds remaining heralded a late time out from the home side, but despite a last gasp rally in the zone, the Giants held onto their lead and the win.
The Stena Line Belfast Giants return home on Saturday night at 7:00pm for a rematch with the Glasgow Clan at the SSE Arena, Belfast, as the Challenge Cup group stage draws to a close. Don’t miss the hunt for top seed in the upcoming knockout stage. Tickets are on sale HERE!