Goals from Ben Lake and Jeff Baum had twice pegged back the home side, but Ryan Tait’s third period goal proved the game winner for the Flames, who added two late empty net strikes to add some gloss to the scoreline.
Belfast had an early powerplay chance as Kyle Locke was penalised for cross-checking, but the Flames came closest to breaking the deadlock as Matt Tugnutt broke away shorthanded but couldn’t beat Beskorowany in close, but the home side would take the lead on the powerplay at 6:53 - Cameron Pound off for tripping - as Brett Ferguson picked out former Giants winger Lewis Hook all alone on the doorstep for the finish. (1-0)
Peter Crinella had a huge chance to double the Flames’ advantage when he was tripped when through on goal to earn a penalty shot but he could only shoot wide and instead Lake tied it up at 10:36 when he skated onto a deflected pass from Daniel Tedesco and picked the top corner with a sumptuous shot. (1-1)
The chances dried up as the period drew to a close, although Charlie Curti nearly caught out Eamon McAdam with a reverse shot from behind the net after the netminder came out to play the puck, although the save of the period went to Beskorowany as he denied Hook what looked to be a certain goal on a two-on-one breakaway with Ferguson late in the frame.
Beskorowany was called into action early, saving down low to deny Tait’s one-timer and then Crinella hit the post for the Flames as the home side started the period strongly, but Lake had a big chance in the early exchanges as he was left all alone in front but fired wide of the net, while he had another chance after stepping in from the right circle only to shoot straight at McAdam.
The Giants did well to kill off a hooking penalty against Ciaran Long but they nearly fell behind when David Goodwin tipped a pass out of the air but accidentally sent it towards his own net. Fortunately Beskorowany was alert to glove it down, although the goaltender was relieved to see Ferguson backhand an effort wide at the crease.
Just as it looked like the period would end scoreless, Ryan Hughes put the home side back into the lead, taking the drop pass from Tait and slotting low past Beskorowany at 39:15 for the go-ahead goal just before the second intermission. (2-1)
An early call against Ben O’Connor for tripping put the Giants on the powerplay but they couldn’t take advantage, and instead they immediately went onto the penalty kill as David Goodwin was pinged for interference, although Guildford also could not capitalise as the Giants’ came up strong.
The men in teal were rewarded when Baum found the equaliser at 44:44, the defenceman stepping in from the blue-line and ripping one home from between the circles (2-2), although it needed a huge block from Jacob Friend and a massive save by Beskorowany to deny a couple of Flames attempts in quick succession to keep the game tied.
The game wouldn’t remain tied for long and once again it was Guildford who pulled ahead at 51:31 as Tait found the game-winner, the winger showing impressive speed to get into the right circle and his shot beat Beskorowany five-hole (3-2), leaving the Giants with it all to do late in the game.
Despite a significant push, which saw Will Cullen and Baum both go close, it wasn’t to be for Adam Keefe’s men as Steven McParland at 59:05 (4-2) and Ferguson at 59:50 (5-2) scored empty-netters with Beskorowany pulled for the extra skater.
The Stena Line Belfast Giants return to the The SSE Arena, Belfast for a massive double-header weekend against the Cardiff Devils on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 February. Tickets available here.