The Belfast Giants recent injury woes followed them to Guildford on Saturday evening. Adam Keefe was without the services of Kevin Raine, Chad Butcher, Tyler Soy, Sam Ruopp and Mark Cooper through injury, while David Gilbert didn’t travel due to illness.
To bolster the Giants’ ranks; Mack Stewart, Kell Beattie and Sean Norris were recalled from their two-way contracts and recently announced re-signing Lewis Hook made his debut in the starting six after a spell in Austria.
A tense opening period featured few talking points other than a Giants power play at 10:54 when Jordan Klimek sat for tripping.
At the other end, Sean Norris came close for Belfast in the dying seconds, breaking down ice towards Flames goalie Eamon McAdam who dealt with the threat.
The Flames applied pressure in the offensive zone throughout the opening ten minutes of the middle period, calling Giants goalie Jackson Whistle into action.
At the other end, talismanic Giants forward Scott Conway was handed a golden opportunity in the mid-slot but could not convert past McAdam.
Ciaran Long’s high sticking penalty at 31:58 was turned away by Belfast’s penalty kill unit, but as the sides returned to 5 on 5, Flames forward Alex Yuill shot through traffic from the blue line to edge his side into the lead at 34:19. (1-0)
Guildford struck the post in the opening minute of the final period, but it was Belfast who applied the early pressure throughout the opening 5.
Ben O’Connor found good space in the zone to square the puck to Ryan Tait for Guildford’s second at 48:05, before a Giants power play opportunity came and went when Sam Marklund sat for tripping at 49:45. (2-0)
The Giants, down on bodies, weren’t without their chances late on. Colby McAuley displayed incredible speed to test McAdam with just over 7 minutes remaining, while Jackson Whistle stood on his head to limit the damage in an end-to-end spell.
Adam Keefe called a time out on a late power play as Turner Ripplinger sat for tripping at 52:44. The Giants thought they had scored from a goal mouth scramble with seconds of man-advantage to spare, but the referees waved it off.
With Belfast goalie Jackson Whistle on the bench and the extra Giants skater in, Darik Angeli ripped a one timer from the blue line which sailed past McAdam to spark late hope for the visitors at 57:51, but the Flames held firm to see out their victory. (2-1)
The Stena Line Belfast Giants continue their road trip at the Skydome on Sunday, facing the Coventry Blaze at 5:30pm. They return home to The SSE Arena, Belfast next weekend for a home double header against the Manchester Storm on Saturday 3rd December (7:00pm) and Sunday 4th December (4:00pm). Tickets are on sale HERE!