Giants Sweep Festive Clan Double with Victory in Belfast
The Stena Line Belfast Giants made it a clean sweep of the traditional festive home/away double with the Glasgow Clan, winning 6-3 in front of a virtually sold-out SSE Arena, Belfast.
The Belfast Giants sustained good pressure on Clan goalie John Muse throughout the opening ten minutes, but it was the Glasgow Clan who caused the first big scare mid-period. As the ice opened up for Kevin Massey, a thundering one-timer shattered his stick, before Stephen Dixon pounced on the loose puck and struck Giants goalie Jackson Whistle’s post.
Steve Owre’s hooking call at 9:49, and an early Giants kill, was sent to 4-on-4 when Muse was whistled for slashing.
David Goodwin’s puck from the left at 14:30 was knocked along from the slot by Scott Conway and met at the back post by Mark Cooper for Belfast’s opener, which sent the capacity SSE Arena crowd wild.
The Giants could have extended on a Brad Kennedy high sticking call at 16:18, but the Clan shielded their goalie with bodies around the slot.
An end-to-end middle period with little in the way of grade-A opportunity was punctuated by a Will Cullen holding call in the defensive zone at 30:20, handing the Clan a penalty shot which Steven McParland tucked past Whistle for the equaliser. (1-1)
Belfast utterly made hay on a 5-on-3 power play as Andrew McClean (holding, 31:38) and Mitch Jones (cross-checking, 32:47) filled the Glasgow box.
A ferocious wrist shot from Conway at 33:20 was almost immediately followed by sublime movement in the Clan zone and a clinical finish from Lewis Hook at the edge of the crease at 33:51. (2-1, 3-1)
Ben Lake piled on the misery with Belfast’s fourth at 36:16, before tensions spilt over behind Muse’s goal after the restart- resulting in a roughing call for Belfast’s Darik Angeli and a 2+2 for Glasgow’s Mitch Jones for roughing and cross-checking at 37:01. (4-1)
Glasgow rounded off the period on yet another 5-on-3 kill, as Andrew McLean was called for delay of game at 38:04.
The Giants were comfortable on the kill early in the third as Steve Owre sat for hooking at 42:19.
The visitors worked their way back into the game through the mid-period. First, Gary Haden’s breakaway over the blue line was threaded to McParland in the middle, for a forehand/backhand finish at 48:40, before Jordan Cownie struck them to within one at 52:01. (4-2, 4-3)
The Giants let a golden chance slip on the power play as McParland sat for slashing at 54:21, in part through excellent goaltending from Muse. Scott Conway, however, was sensational at 57:26, tearing over the blue line and dangling his way through Glasgow’s defencemen to restore Belfast’s cushion. (5-3).
The game was over at 59:17 when Ciaran Long found Glasgow’s empty net, after Muse had been pulled for the extra man just under two minutes from time. (6-3)
The Stena Line Belfast Giants are back in action at The SSE Arena, Belfast on Thursday evening, as the Fife Flyers come to town in League action. Tickets are on sale HERE!