The game also marked the Giants annual ‘Teddy Toss’ night, and the Teal Army responded in their droves; sending a hail of freshly sealed toys onto the ice after Scott Conway’s opening goal to be delivered to Childrens’ Hospitals for Christmas.
Furthermore, the Giants were boosted by the signing of 5-year-old Daithi Mac Gabhann on Organ Donation Discussion Day. Born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and in need of a heart transplant, Daithi was an inspirational presence around the arena all evening; highlighting an important cause which you can read more about HERE.
The Belfast Giants eye-watering list of absentees heading into the weekend featured Darcy Murphy, Ciaran Long, Cam Knight, Slater Doggett and Ben Lake.
Adam Keefe called upon the services of local talent, namely young upstart Mack Stewart alongside the debuting Carter Hamill and a more established local player with some experience of the Teal jersey- Adam Robinson.
The search for the ‘Teddy Bear Goal’ wasn’t without its challenges- Mark Cooper sat for boarding at 3:06 but a lively kill unit and Jackson Whistle shut the door.
Fife’s Kristian Blumenschein followed for holding at 7:51, but despite a potent zone presence, Flyers goalie Shane Owen denied Belfast an opening power play goal.
The deadlock was broken at 10:28, when Scott Conway struck from close range, triggering a hail of teddy bears onto the SSE Arena ice. The incredible pile of soft toys in sealed plastic bags were brought along by the Teal Army and will be donated to kids in local hospitals by Giants players ahead of Christmas.
An 18:18 Sam Ruopp interference call straddled the first period break. Belfast rallied, but Ruopp would find himself with a total of 8 called penalty minutes before the end of the second period.
Belfast’s number 2 was handed a double minor for accidental high sticking at 31:44- a golden opportunity for the Fife Flyers to edge their way back into the game.
Unfortunately for Todd Dutiaume’s men, James Isaacs nullified most of it with a holding call in the corner of the offensive zone at 32:51. When they did regain their man-advantage, Jackson Whistle impressed in the crease with a snappy glove and solid leg work.
A Sam Ruopp penalty split the period break again; this time the call from referee Stefan Hogarth was cross checking at 18:33.
Ruopp’s redemption came in the form of a first assist on Belfast’s second goal. As the Giants bore down deep in the Flyers zone, he put the puck on JJ Piccinich’s stick for a sorely needed marker at 43:42 (Assist: Lewis Hook). (2-0)
As the game passed the 40-minute mark, it was Jackson Whistle’s turn to keep his side in it with a succession of confident stops under pressure. There was reprieve in the shape of an Eric Naslund interference penalty at 49:36; sending the home side back onto the power play.
Fife pulled one back in chaotic circumstances at 52:16. As Carson Stadnyk tangled with Jordan Boucher behind Whistle’s net, Scott Jamieson sent the puck home through a sea of sprawling bodies. There was no review, as play resumed under a hail of boos. (2-1)
As the Teal Army roared their side on, Griffin Reinhart delivered; restoring the two-goal cushion at 55:54 with a short side snipe from the left circle over Shane Owen’s shoulder (Assist: Mark Garside, Jordan Boucher). (3-1)
The Belfast Giants take to SSE Arena ice again on Sunday 12 December, as old foes the Nottingham Panthers arrive in town for a 4:00pm face off. Tickets are on sale HERE.