A slow start for Belfast and a Storm goal within the first two minutes was quickly forgotten with a dominant seven-goal victory; including a double for recently snake bitten Darcy Murphy, and a heavyweight fight between Belfast’s Mark Cooper and Manchester’s Linden Springer.
The Giants were caught cold at 1:23 when Tyson Fawcett worked his way inside on a solo breakaway, flicking the opening goal of the evening past Tyler Beskorowany unassisted. (0-1)
With the air sucked out of The SSE Arena, what followed was one of the more complete periods of the Giants’ season so far.
Ben Lake’s positional awareness paid off moments later, pouncing on David Goodwin’s rebound from point blank range to beat young British goaltender James Downie at 6:56. (1-1)
Darcy Murphy fired home short-handed at 10:30 with Ciaran Long in the box for cross checking. The outpouring of emotion from both player and fans showed what it meant to the Belfast Giants, as Murphy opened his account for the season. (2-1)
The onslaught continued at 16:34 when JJ Piccinich sniped Belfast’s third on the breakaway, assisted by Scott Conway. (3-1)
Manchester’s Jared VanWormer took a boarding at 18:58, before Mark Cooper answered a challenge from Linden Springer on the resulting faceoff; faring well against the Storm heavyweight and supercharging The SSE Arena.
A more subdued middle period was brought to life by a stunning Beskorowany glove save from close range inside the first 10 minutes.
Tyler Soy served a Too Many Men penalty at 27:10, but the Giants kill unit remained comfortable in their second outing of the game.
Captain David Goodwin struck the home side’s fourth at 32:48, once again the result of strong Belfast net-front presence (Assist: Mark Cooper, Ben Lake). (4-1)
Manchester kept the hopes of the travelling fans alive with their second of the game at 36:02, a Jared VanWormer power play effort as Darcy Murphy sat for holding (Assist: Dallas Erhardt). (4-2)
Linden Springer headed to the penalty box for 38:35, leaving the Belfast Giants with 35 seconds of power play to open the final period.
Darcy Murphy had the Arena on its feet again at 43:35, burying Scott Conway’s pass for his second of the game. (5-2)
Not to be outdone, David Goodwin netted his second less than a minute later at 44:13 as Belfast turned the screw on embattled Storm goaltender James Downie. Ironically, Downie had probably been the Storm’s best individual performance for the majority of the evening. (Assist: Sam Ruopp, Mark Cooper). (6-2)
Manchester’s woes were compounded at 48:29 when a well worked play by Jordan Boucher and Lewis hook in the zone found the end of Ciaran Long’s stick for number seven. (7-2)
Former Belfast Giant Curtis Hamilton headed to the penalty box for slashing at 49:04, but the Storm power play unit could not find their way in close to Tyler Beskorowany.
Belfast saw out the game short-handed as Tyler Soy once again sat for a Too Many Men bench minor, but it mattered very little as a dominant Giants victory came to a close.
Game two of this weekend’s Giants v Storm double header will take place on Sunday, 4:00pm at the SSE Arena. Tickets are still on sale- grab yours now!