Hook Strikes in OT as Giants Seal Four Point Weekend
For the second night in a row, the Stena Line Belfast Giants came from behind to seize victory over the Dundee Stars, as Steve Owre’s late equaliser forced overtime before Lewis Hook sniped the road winner in the 65th minute.
Despite the Giants’ strong start, it was déjà vu as the Stars struck first at 2:03 when Elijiah Barriga found Ryan Verrier at the crease. (1-0)
It didn’t take long for tensions to rise after last night’s encounter in Belfast. Scott Conway’s 2+2 for high sticking at 4:01 led to scrums after the whistle behind the Giants’ goal, resulting in roughing calls for Belfast’s Sam Ruopp and Dundee’s Ian Parker at 5:52.
Belfast’s first power play of the game (Chris Lidjsman, tripping, 14:51) could have been their invitation to level proceedings before the first intermission, but it was cut in half when Josh Roach was sent to the box for interference at 16:02.
The Giants created plenty of chances throughout a second period where the equaliser they needed just would not materialise.
Another commotion between the sides saw roughing calls for Belfast’s Darik Angeli and Dundee’s Carter Folk, along with fellow Star Hugo Reinhart for high sticking at 28:00- sending the Giants onto another power play.
Back at full strength, Johan Eriksson took advantage of a defensive error in the Giants’ zone, finding himself in front of the crease in possession. However, his wrist shot was gloved down by an impressive Jackson Whistle who was seldom called upon during the second- but stellar when required.
The visitors found their equaliser in bizarre fashion, as a long range flipped puck from Will Cullen took a heavy deflection off a defender’s stick as it bounced awkwardly into the Stars goal at 43:48. (1-1)
The Giants killed off a Mark Garside slashing penalty at 49:32 but were undone at full strength when Elijiah Barriga snatched the lead for the hosts once again at 55:55. (2-1)
As they have often shown this season, Scott Conway and Steve Owre are two Belfast Giants who can be relied upon in the clutch. The former connected with the latter with time slipping away, sending the puck past Stars goalie Anton Svensson at 57:56 to rescue a point and force overtime.
A wild, end to end period of sudden death 3 on 3 overtime followed, as Romans Semjonovs and Phillipe Sanche called Jackson Whistle into action off the drop.
Stars head coach Jeff Mason called a time out with 2:55 to go, and although a superb effort from Will Cullen and Ben Lake was denied by Svensson at the opposite end, an inspired Lewis Hook fired top shelf at 64:10 to seal yet another comeback victory, and a four-point weekend.
The Stena Line Belfast Giants return home to face the Nottingham Panthers in double-header action at The SSE Arena, Belfast on Friday 13th January at 7:00pm, and Saturday 14th January at 7:00pm. Tickets are on sale HERE!
Images by Derek Black.