Giants Blank Flyers on Night of Firsts
It was a night of firsts for the Belfast Giants on Friday as they sailed to a 0-2 win over the Fife Flyers in Kirkcaldy thanks to a first goal in Teal from Mark Cooper and a first pro goal from Jeff Baum. Adam Keefe also named local talents Mackenzie Stewart (son of Giants legend Rob) and Kell Beattie to the Giants line up, with both young players taking their first shifts for the senior side. Joel Neill reports.
Belfast started well, pinning the Flyers deep in their own zone for the opening six minutes before the hosts managed to get a shot away on the break. Sensing his side’s comfort in the early stages, Adam Keefe gave the nod to 17-year-old Mackenzie Stewart to take his first senior shift for the Belfast Giants.
The debut of ‘Mack’, son of Giants legend/assistant coach Rob Stewart, alongside another promising homegrown talent in Kell Beattie, were poignant moments for a Teal Army who have ferociously supported local players ever since the club’s inception.
In the only penalty of the period, former Belfast Giant Craig Peacock sat for tripping at 9:50, but Fife were efficient in bouncing the puck out of the zone throughout their kill. Returning to even strength, they found their first meaningful looks on goal as the period elapsed, but Tyler Beskorowany was a match for the threat.
Fife’s kill unit were effective again early in the middle period as Imants Lescovs sat for slashing at 20:57. Belfast continued to move the puck well, applying consistent pressure to the hosts. However, the sides remained deadlocked at the half hour mark.
Then, at 31:13 Mark Cooper beat another former Giant in Shane Owen at close range, picking an ideal moment to score his first goal in Teal. (Assists: Mark Garside, Lewis Hook, 0-1). The goal scorer found himself sitting for goalie interference at 36:01, however Fife’s Erik Naslund joined him on a roughing call from the resulting melee, leaving the sides at 4 on 4.
Jeff Baum doubled the Giants’ lead with seconds remaining in the period; unleashing David Goodwin’s set-up pass from the point with a stunning one timer and scoring his first pro goal at 39:24. (0-2)
A Scott Conway tripping penalty at 43:15 provided tense moments for the visitors, as Tyler Beskorowany found himself scrambling for the puck in the Giants crease.
In fact, the Flyers had their best period of the game in the third; finally posing a meaningful threat in the Belfast zone. Both sides exchanged pucks off the iron as Belfast rang Shane Owen’s crossbar, and Beskorowany looked to be beaten by a Flyers shot that ricocheted off his right post and back into play.
A penalty heavy 20 minutes left the action fragmented in the closing stages, and with time running out, Flyers coach Todd Dutiaume pulled Shane Owen to ice his extra skater. The Belfast Giants repelled a short attacking spell with confidence, closing out the game to take another 2 points in the group stages of the Premier Sports Challenge Cup.
The Giants return home this Sunday 10th October at 4:00pm for a rematch against the Fife Flyers in the Premier Sports Challenge Cup. . Tickets are still on sale for the second home game of the season, CLICK HERE to secure yours now!
Images: Fife Flyer Images