Goals from Mark Cooper, Greg Printz, Ciaran Long, Ben Lake and Johnny Curran earned the Giants the victory and extended their winning streak to 13 games in a row, with Tyler Beskorowany adding 31 saves in another stellar performance after replacing the injured Jackson Whistle midway through the first period.
An early chance fell the way of Quinn Preston, who tried to jam the puck home at the crease after Mark Cooper’s feed to the centre but he couldn’t beat Jake Kielly, and the Clan netminder was once again at his best to deny Ara Nazarian when the winger got in behind and skated in one-on-one.
The Giants were forced into an early netminding change as Whistle was forced out of the game through injury, with Beskorowany taking his place and Charlie Curti dropping the gloves with Michael Pelech as retribution, and the home side killed off the first penalty of the afternoon as Jacob Friend sat for tripping.
But in a period featuring few scoring chances, the two best chances came in the last 20 seconds as Gary Haden nearly capitalised on a turnover for the Clan as he skated in unopposed on Beskorowany but the goaltender made the save, then Preston nearly put in the rebound off Miles Gendron’s long range shot but Kielly just managed to deny him.
After a scoreless first period, it took exactly a minute for the deadlock to be broken in the second period, Lake shooting from the blue-line and there was Mark Cooper to tip it in at the crease to open the scoring at 21:00. (1-0)
Both sides had looks on the powerplay as Lake (hooking) and Clan defenceman Cody Sol (cross-checking) sat, but neither netminder could be beaten, but Printz would find the Giants’ second at 30:32 as Mark Cooper led the breakout and dropped the puck back for the winger, who squeezed his shot through Kielly’s pads. (2-0)
Having had nothing much to do for the majority of the period, Beskorowany produced a stunning double save to deny Ryan Harrison while Kielly was in just as good form as it seemed like Oliver Cooper had set up Long for a tap-in, but the Clan netminder sprung across goal to make the save and keep it a two-goal game.
The Clan thought they had pulled one back right on the stroke of the intermission, though, as Dyson Stevenson finished off a lovely passing move on the 5-on-3 powerplay - Travis Brown (tripping) and Kohei Sato (cross-checking) in the box for Belfast - but it was determined the puck crossed the line after the buzzer had sounded for the end of the period.
Lake made it three Giants in the box as he also headed off for a face-off violation from the opening drop of the puck and the Clan finally got their first goal at 41:06 as Jake Bolton snapped one home from the right circle. (2-1)
Belfast had a chance to immediately respond on the powerplay as Bryce Reddick sat for holding, but they wouldn’t have to wait long for the third to arrive as it came at 48:05, Brown sending the puck into the left circle for Long to redirect into the net.
And when Harrison was penalised for boarding, the Giants took full advantage on the powerplay to take their lead to three as Long drove the pass to the crease and Lake was able to redirect it into the roof of the net for the goal at 52:32. (4-1)
The Clan did make it interesting in the dying stages when Philippe Sanche produced a superb finish, firing in off the frame of the goal at 56:50 (4-2), but it would be nothing more than a consolation as the home side closed out the win thanks to Curran’s empty net finish with 1:25 remaining. (5-2)
The Stena Line Belfast Giants continue their Elite League title defence with a trip to the Dundee Stars on Saturday before returning to home ice against the same opponents on Sunday for the second game of a double-header. Tickets are on sale HERE!