Adam Keefe’s side were also backed by a fantastic 28-save shut-out from Tyler Beskorowany, his first in the CHL for the Giants, and having lost their first three games in the preliminary stage, the Giants have now moved onto three points and sit just outside the top-16 that qualify for the knockouts later in the season with home games against Red Bull Salzburg and Dynamo Pardubice still to come next month.
The Giants swarmed over their opponents early in the contest and they nearly took the lead when Charlie Curti set up Elijiah Barriga in the right circle, only for the winger’s shot to hit the frame of the goal, but they wouldn’t have to wait long for the opener as at 6:53, Greg Printz went on the wraparound and his pass across the face of goal was tapped in at the back post by Quinn Preston. (1-0)
That goal seemed to spark Bolzano into life and for the remainder of the period Beskorowany would be the busier netminder, standing tall to deny Mike Halmo on the breakaway before shutting the door on two powerplays as Mark Garside and Oliver Cooper were called for separate interference penalties.
However, despite the ice tilting the way of the visitors, it was the Giants who doubled the lead through Tedesco as he got to the top of the left circle and unleashed a slapshot that Niklas Svedberg couldn’t prevent from sneaking under his glove at 16:01 (2-0), with Beskorowany making a late save to deny Christian Thomas’ snapshot to keep the gap at two at the intermission.
The Giants received a blow at the start of the middle frame as Elijiah Barriga left the game hurt after a collision in the offensive zone, while the home side were unlucky not to add to their lead as a scramble around the net couldn’t be forced home by the unfortunate Ciaran Long before a great move by Preston gave him the shot but he sent it just over.
Preston would then take two penalties back-to-back, a slash and a trip sending him to the box twice, but once Belfast returned to full strength they found their third goal as a great stretch pass from Mark Cooper sent Sato in one-on-one with Svedberg and the Japanese international produced a cool finish through the netminder’s five-hole at 34:58. (3-0)
But the biggest momentum shifter would not be a goal, instead it would be a huge 5-on-3 penalty kill from the Giants as Printz (tripping) and Travis Brown (delay of game) were sent from the ice just four seconds apart, but the hosts’ special teams produced an outstanding effort to keep their visitors at bay, with Beskorowany finding the save of the game as he went post-to-post to rob Connor Ford what looked to be a certain goal.
An ill-tempered third period started with Tedesco taking a high-sticking penalty, although it would be off-set by roughing calls to Ben Lake and Bolzano pair Brad McClure and Halmo, and that would suck the life out of the Italians’ potential fightback, allowing Belfast to close it out in style.
Sean Norris could have had a multi-goal night as he decided to selflessly pass to Sato on a breakaway when he maybe should have shot, then he struck the crossbar from the right circle, while a Printz pass to the net was almost tucked home by Preston only for former NHL netminder Svedberg to make a stunning close range save to deny him.
But the Giants would finish the game having scored in all three periods and it was Tedesco who completed a two-goal night at 50:07, Lake and Mark Cooper battling hard in the corner to bring the puck back to the net and although Svedberg made the initial stop, Tedesco was able to flick in the rebound to round off the scoring. (4-0)
Tedesco was inches from a hat-trick as he broke away one-on-one with Svedberg with a minute remaining only to be denied by the Swedish goalie, while at the other end Beskorowany completed his first shut-out of the season with a big stop on Davis Vandane from the right circle as the clock ticked down to signal the home side’s first win of the campaign.
Next up, the Stena Line Belfast Giants return to pre-season action, taking on Glasgow Clan at The SSE Arena, Belfast on Saturday 16 September. Tickets are on sale here.