It was all change in goal as the second round of this weekend’s Guildford 3 in 3 got underway. Jackson Whistle took the start for Belfast, meanwhile Canadian Liam Hughes (who took over from Kevin Lindskoug in the second period last night) made a start for the Flames.
Belfast shut down an early Mark Garside tripping call at 4:06, but Guildford’s opening power play wasn’t without its moments of danger as Levi Cable rang the post on a rush.
Belfast fared better on their own opening power play, as Chris Gerrie sat for hooking at 12:21. With the help of good offensive work in the zone from Griffin Reinhart and David Goodwin, JJ Piccinich found his way in close to open the scoring at 12:48. (1-0)
Ben Lake doubled Belfast’s advantage from the high slot at 17:14 to round off a productive period, despite being outshot 13-7 by the visitors (Assist: Slater Doggett, Jeff Baum). (2-0)
The Giants notched a third early in the middle period as Mark Cooper got in close on Flames goalie Liam Hughes at 21:12, from Ben Lake and Slater Doggett. (3-0)
Lewis Hook sat for holding at 25:14 and was promptly joined by Kevin Raine after a pile-on in Jackson Whistle’s crease on the first shift of the kill.
Faced with 1:01 of a 5 on 3 kill, the Giants were resolute. And when they regained the services of Lewis Hook at 5 on 4, they were downright comfortable.
Guildford killed a penalty of their own a few minutes later as a scrappy period progressed. This time, Jake Bolton sat for slashing at 31:20.
Ben Lake was to follow with a slashing call at 36:31, and this time Belfast weren’t so lucky. A Jamal Watson one timer from just inside the blue line put Guildford on the board at 38:17 (Assist: John Dunbar). (3-1)
The Guildford Flames were troubled by avoidable penalties at the start of the final period, as Kyle Locke sat for interference at 41:50, followed by Spencer Trapp for delay of game at 42:32.
Despite cycling well and getting their looks during the 5 on 3 power play, the Giants found their fourth on the stroke of even strength when Ben Lake converted his second of the game from the edge of the paint at 44:39 (Assist: Slater Doggett, Jordan Boucher). (4-1)
Jordan Boucher’s zone entry and sublime cross ice pass to Tyler Soy faked goalie Liam Huges to his right, leaving Soy with the simplest of tap-ins for Belfast’s fifth at 50:40. (5-1)
Kevin Raine continued the onslaught by striking the crossbar from the right circle with 6:31 remaining, followed by Giants Captain David Goodwin coming close with two bites of the cherry.
Belfast had one final speedbump to overcome as Mark Garside sat for tripping at 57:34, but time elapsed without incident on what was ultimately a comfortable victory for Adam Keefe’s side.
The Belfast Giants travel to Guildford on Sunday to round off this weekend’s 3 in 3 against the Flames. They return home to The SSE Arena, Belfast next Friday and Saturday for a highly anticipated blockbuster double header against the Sheffield Steelers, with huge implications in this season’s title race. Tickets for these unmissable games are on sale HERE!