Flames Top Giants in Sunday Showdown
The table topping Guildford Flames got the better of the Stena Line Belfast Giants on Sunday afternoon, leaving The SSE Arena, Belfast with a 2-4 victory in the Premier Sports Elite League.
The Giants rallied late on, as Colby McAuley got a tip on Matt Foley’s long-range effort in the 57th minute to bring it back to 2-3, but the Flames found an empty netter in the dying seconds to seal the win.
The Giants, fresh off last night’s victory in Dundee, were clinical on their opening penalty kill as Colby McAuley sat for an early interference call at 1:31.
Scott Conway rang the iron on their opening power play as Alex Yuill sat for holding at 4:48.
Guildford’s Peter Crinella was in the right place to pick up a Ben O’Connor rebound from close range at 9:02. (0-1)
Belfast claimed an equaliser in the 12th minute, but a referee’s review proved inconclusive that Scott Conway’s puck off the post had crossed the line.
Lightning struck twice for Conway after his snipe from the mid slot at 12:46, when Guildford Coach Paul Dixon sent it to review for possible goalie interference on Mark Cooper, but this time the goal stood. (1-1)
The Flames survived the ensuing bench minor for a failed coaches challenge (served by Tristan Frei), and regained the lead when Daniel Tedesco connected with Ryan Tait’s puck out from behind the net at 18:01. (1-2)
Johan Eriksson’s snipe from the right circle added a third for Guildford at 22:37, beating Giants goalie Peyton Jones glove-side. (1-3)
The Guildford Flames speed in transition caused problems for Belfast throughout the period, however the hosts battled for their share of puck possession.
The Giants turned away a Flames power play as Ciaran Long sat for interference at 34:54 and closed out the period on a power play of their own. Flames defenseman Kyle Locke took 2+2 for roughing and interference, and Belfast’s Chad Butcher took a roughing call of his own at 38:52 as frustrations boiled over in the Guildford zone.
Belfast continued to create chances into the third but didn’t find a foothold until 56:16 when Colby McAuley tipped down a Matt Foley shot from the right side of the blue line. (2-3)
The Giants looked to have been handed a golden opportunity on a late power play as Brett Ferguson was called for kneeing at 58:09, however Ben Lake’s roughing penalty in the ensuing melee after the whistle sent the action to 4 on 4.
Adam Keefe pulled Peyton Jones in favour of the extra skater after the drop, but Guildford’s Sam Marklund punched home the insurance goal at 58:27. (2-4)
The Stena Line Belfast Giants close out their CHL Campaign on Tuesday evening with a trip to Sweden and Skelleftea AIK, facing off at 6:05pm. We return home next Saturday 15th October to take on the Coventry Blaze in Premier Sports Elite League action at The SSE Arena, Belfast. Tickets are on sale HERE!