Giants Close Regular Season with Win in Blaze Goal Fest
The Stena Line Belfast Giants closed out the 2021-22 EIHL Regular season in spectacular fashion, defeating the Coventry Blaze 7-6 in an action packed game at The SSE Arena, Belfast.
The Coventry Blaze started the game with slightly more urgency, as Danny Stewart’s side pressed for playoff seeding. Connor Chaulk opened the scoring at 1:48, beating Giants goalie Whistle from close range (Assist: Dillon Eicshstadt, Evan Bloodoff). (0-1)
The Blaze weathered back-to-back penalty kills as Janne Lakkonnen took a hooking call at 4:03 and sat for high sticking on Tyler Soy at 10:19.
The Blaze doubled their lead at 13:55 when Janne Kivilahti tipped down a shot from the point in front of Whistle’s crease. (0-2)
Cam Knight’s one timer from the top of the right circle lifted the Teal Army to their feet at 14:26 (Assist: Slater Doggett, Griffin Reinhart), before a beautiful Sam Ruopp long range effort on the backhand tied the game at 17:49 (Assist: Mark Cooper, Ciaran Long) (1-2, 2-2)
Jordan Boucher edged Belfast into the lead unassisted at 22:23, skating in close on Blaze goalie CJ Motte. (3-2)
And a Slater Doggett pass to Darcy Murphy in front of the net added a fourth at 24:44 (Second assist: Mark Cooper). (4-2)
The onslaught continued when Mark Cooper tucked it into Motte’s top corner on the back hand at 32:50 (Assist: Slater Doggett). (5-2)
And the Blaze goalie was replaced by backup Jordan Hedley following Tyler Soy’s sixth at 34:13, as Carter Hamill notched his first pro point on the first assist. (6-2)
Proceedings got a little wild following a Darcy Murphy slashing call at 34:24. A Johnny Curran cross check on Sam Ruopp sent him to the box and Ruopp down the tunnel at 34:41, and Ben Lake took exception to this, sitting for roughing at 34:54.
Coventry took their opportunity to pull one back on the power play courtesy of Nathanael Halbert at 35:11 (Assist: Evan Bloodoff, Luke Ferrara). (6-3)
And Ross Venus added their fourth at 4 on 4 just over a minute later (Assist: Janne Kivilahti, Joey Raats). (6-4)
There was just enough time for a Nathanael Halbert roughing penalty at 37:42 to round off a wild middle period.
Coventry clawed it back to within a goal when Dillon Eichstadt dangled his way down the slot off a Mitch Cook pass at 45:47. (6-5)
And a rollercoaster game was tied at 6 by a Janne Kivilahti wrist shot at 46:52 (Assist: Ross Venus). (6-6)
Lewis Hook’s mid slot snipe at 57:10 proved to be the difference maker (Assist: Ben Lake), despite a late Mark Garside holding penalty at 59:20 and a subsequent Blaze time out and 6 on 4 power play. (7-6)
The Belfast Giants turn their attention to playoff action next Sunday 24 April, with opponent to be confirmed. Stay tuned to BelfastGiants.com for information. Get your tickets HERE.