Giants Cup Final Bound Again with Aggregate Victory Over Flames
The Stena Line Belfast Giants were defeated 2-3 over 3 periods on Wednesday night, as the Guildford Flames arrived at The SSE Arena, Belfast for the second leg of an intriguing Challenge Cup Semi Final. However, the home side’s 4-0 first leg victory was enough to see them over the line and into the Challenge Cup Final for a chance to defend their title.
Steve Owre broke loose on a one on one in the second minute of the game before being denied by Flames goalie Eamon McAdam, however it was McAdam’s side who spent the first ten minutes of the game in the ascendancy.
Ben Lake’s delay of game penalty at 3:13 allowed the visitors the space to work their somewhat urgent game plan of flipping pucks in on net and into traffic, and it worked when Jordan Klimek stabbed home Ian McNulty’s shot from the blue line at 4:47. (4) 0-1 (1)
The Giants were more composed on the kill when Gabe Bast was called for slashing at 6:45 and began to press into the zone and create offense beyond the midway point of the period.
Mark Cooper caught the Flames cold off the drop with a superb breakaway which missed the end product, as the puck was sent high over McAdam’s shoulder.
Ben O’Connor’s hooking penalty at 24:44 should have been a wide open invitation for the home side to take a foothold on the game. Instead, Logan Frederick forced a turnover in the neutral zone and skated in tight on Giants goalie Tyler Beskorowany, squeezing the puck 5 hole short-handed at 25:48. (4) 0-2 (2)
The Giants were spared another penalty kill (Josh Roach, high sticking, 32:48) when Sam Marklund sent it to 4 on 4 with a cross check from the face off at 32:54.
There was a moment of Déjà vu off the opening face off in the third period, as Mark Cooper got in on goal and this time beat McAdam to put the Giants on the board at 40:13. (5) 1-2 (2)
The ‘other’ Cooper, Giants new signing Grant, was unlucky not to tie the game in the 45th minute as his shot off a 3 on 1 breakaway was denied.
McAdam’s tripping call at 54:33 was served by Ben O’Connor as precious minutes ebbed away for the visitors, and with 3 minutes left on the clock head coach Paul Dixon iced the extra skater.
It worked to great effect the first time as Ryan Tait capitalised on a scramble in front of Beskorowany at 57:44. (5) 1-3 (3)
But after the restart, and with the net empty once again, Giants Captain David Goodwin pounced in the neutral zone to take possession with a smart poke check, icing the game into the empty net unassisted at 58:03. (6) 2-3 (3)
It’s a GIANT double header weekend at The SSE Arena, Belfast as the Sheffield Steelers come to town. Be there on Friday and Saturday at 7:00pm for two huge games! Tickets are on sale HERE.