First Period Costs Giants in Wales
The Stena Line Belfast Giants couldn’t get it going in Cardiff Bay on Friday night, losing 4-1 to the Cardiff Devils after going 3-0 down in a disappointing opening period.
Joshua Brittain’s shot from range was tipped over Giants goalie Jackson Whistle by Stefan Fournier at 2:33 to hand the Devils an early lead in their final Welsh regular season meeting with Belfast. (1-0)
The home side doubled their advantage at 5:47 when Josh Waller’s wrist shot was rebounded into the path of Brittain. (2-0)
A superb stick check from Gabe Bast robbed Cole Sanford of a third mid period, but Cardiff struck again on the power play (Matt Foley, holding, 8:35) courtesy of Joey Martin at 9:03. (3-0)
An incensed Adam Keefe called a time out to rally his troops, but despite a power play shift when Riley Brandt sat for tripping at 12:15, the Giants headed in at the break down by 3 without response.
Belfast began the middle period on the power play as Marcus Crawford was called for cross checking in a tetchy end to the first- but couldn’t find their way inside on goalie Taran Kozun.
The visitors began to grow into the game through the mid period, managing to keep possession in the Devils zone for long spells.
They were rewarded for their efforts at 32:10 when defenceman Will Cullen buzzed over the blue line and roofed the puck unassisted from the left. (3-1)
Whistle denied Trevor Cox on the one-on-one breakaway in the dying seconds of a much-improved period for the Giants.
A corkscrewing Whistle was all that stood between the hosts and their fourth early in the final period, as the Giants goalie continued a stunning individual performance.
Ryan Penny rang a puck off the crossbar just under 8 minutes from time, before Whistle made his way to the bench and allowed Adam Keefe to ice the extra skater with 2:10 to go. Steve Owre came close for Belfast inside the last minute and a half, but it was Trevor Cox who concluded proceedings into the empty net for Cardiff at 58:56. (4-1)
The Giants continue their road trip on Saturday 21 January at 7:00pm with a visit to the Nottingham Panthers, before returning home for the conclusion to the Challenge Cup Semi Final against the Flames next Wednesday 25th January at 7:00pm. Tickets are on sale HERE!
Images by James Assinder.