Giants Victory in Fife seals Four Point Weekend in Challenge Cup
The Stena Line Belfast Giants emerged from the Fife Ice Arena with a 5-2 victory in Challenge Cup action this evening.
Goals from Chad Butcher, Will Cullen and David Gilbert, along with a Scott Conway double, secured all four points on offer in the Challenge Cup this weekend following Saturday night’s overtime win in Belfast.
Colby McAuley sat for high sticking at 1:49, but the penalty kill did little to dampen the Belfast Giants’ early momentum, as they pressed for an early opener in Fife after Saturday night’s OT thriller at the SSE Arena.
It came at 5:19, when David Goodwin fed Chad Butcher to break the deadlock for the second night in a row. (0-1)
The Flyers responded at 13:05 when Reece Cochrane’s shot was rebounded into the path of a crashing Zach Phillips at the edge of Peyton Jones’ crease. (1-1)
Chris Lawrence took a 2+2 high sticking penalty on Belfast’s Ciaran Long a 14:57, but the power play was nullified when Chad Butcher sat for interference at 18:01.
The Giants killed a Steve Owre tripping penalty at 21:03, but Fife retook the lead at even strength when Reece Harsch’s shot from inside the blue line was tipped down by Shawn Cameron at 26:13. (2-1)
The visitors responded immediately with Will Cullen crossing the blue line on the left and working his way inside with some beautiful stick work, before firing home near-post at 26:52. (2-2)
It was end-to-end through the middle of the period, but it was David Gilbert who gave the Giants their first lead of the game on the power play at 30:50, as Janne Laakkonen sat for hooking. (2-3)
Shawn Cameron headed to the box for slashing at 32:29, but Belfast’s power play became a 4 on 4 when Colby McAuley took a slashing call of his own less than 20 seconds later.
A rocket of a wrist shot from Scott Conway extended the Giants’ lead, short-handed, at 37:56 with Chad Butcher back in the box for high sticking. (2-4)
The sides headed into the third period at 4 on 4, following Belfast’s too many men call at 39:13 and Lucas Sandstrom’s slash at 39:42.
Belfast’s Gabe Bast and Fife’s Reece Harsch came together in front of the benches in the sixth minute as tempers flared in the final period of the weekend. Their conversation continued across the penalty boxes as Scott Conway wristed Belfast’s 5th goal at 4 on 4, beating Shane Owen from the right at 46:49. (2-5)
The Giants’ pressure in the last 10 minutes of the game was relentless, successfully keeping Todd Dutiaume’s side pinned in their own zone for lengthy spells.
The Flyers had a measure of reprieve late on as Ciaran Long served the Giants’ second too many men penalty of the game at 57:10. However, a comprehensive penalty kill in front of Peyton Jones took care of the closing minutes to seal a 4-point weekend in the Challenge Cup.
The Belfast Giants’ Challenge Cup campaign continues next weekend against the Dundee Stars. Jeff Mason’s side visits The SSE Arena, Belfast on Saturday 24th September at 7:00pm, before the Giants make the trip to Scotland on Sunday afternoon for a 5:00pm rematch. Tickets for next Saturday’s home clash are on sale HERE!