Despite Ara Nazarian’s powerplay equaliser with 57 seconds remaining, following goals from Daniel Tedesco and Davey Phillips, Adam Keefe’s men would fall in the shoot-out as Marcus Crawford won it for the visitors.
The Giants got off to a rough start just 5:12 into the game when a miscommunication in defence between Travis Brown and Charlie Curti allowed Ben Davies to steal in on the puck and feed Chad Pietroniro for the opener, firing a low shot past Beskorowany from the slot. (1-0)
Mark Cooper then provided a bit of physicality as he took a kneeing penalty to put the Giants on their first penalty kill and followed it up by dropping the gloves with Devils hard man Riley Brandt, which earned him another two minutes in the box for instigation.
But rather than fall further behind, the Giants would level it shorthanded as Tedesco broke away shorthanded and, aided by Elijiah Barriga’s excellent supporting line, drew Ben Bowns out of his net and slotted home at 11:23. (1-1)
The Devils would have the advantage at the first intermission, though, as another defensive mix-up allowed Welsh star Bayley Harewood to rifle one in from the right circle at 13:07 (1-2) and the visitors would end the period strongly by killing off a tripping call against Josh Batch.
It was a bright start from the Giants as they applied some early pressure, but Beskorowany was needed to make the biggest save as Jamie Arniel skated in one-on-one but the goaltender made the stop.
But there was nothing Beskorowany could do with Cardiff’s third at 25:16 as once again Arniel had the first effort, jumping off the bench and shooting from the right circle, and there was Cole Sanford to tuck in the rebound on the doorstep. (1-3)
Once again the Giants came up empty on the powerplay when Pietroniro sat for instigating a fight with Brown after the defenceman laid out Joshua Waller with a huge hit, although the Devils needed Bowns to make some jaw-dropping stops to keep the home side at bay.
But Phillips would reduce the deficit to one goal at the second intermission with a fine finish as he was found skating into the high slot by Quinn Preston and he picked the top corner at 34:34. (2-3)
The third period was short on chances as Cardiff successfully managed to close down their end of the ice and prevent the Giants from getting any real efforts on goal, although Barriga was almost the saviour when he was denied by Bowns on the backhand.
But Belfast were handed a lifeline when Cody Donaghey was sent to the box for a double-minor for holding and misconduct, giving the Giants a four-minute powerplay, and they took full advantage as Nazarian found the tying goal at 59:03, batting Greg Printz’s pass out of mid-air and in. (3-3)
The Giants couldn’t make anything happen on their short 28-second holdover powerplay as Donaghey remained in the box, while the Devils likewise couldn’t capitalise on a Ben Lake hooking minor, leaving the scoreboard untouched in the extra period.
It was the Giants who came closest to winning the game in the initial five shots as Quinn Preston hit the crossbar and then Pietroniro struck the post for the Devils with their first effort in sudden death, but it was Crawford who was the game-winner when he beat Beskorowany with the Devils’ seventh shot and Nazarian was denied by the crossbar. (3-4)
The Stena Line Belfast Giants are on the road for further pre-season action in Cardiff this weekend before departing to Europe to face three opponents in Champions Hockey League action. They return home to take on Italy's HC Bolzano here at home on Saturday 9 September. Tickets are on sale HERE!