A quick start from the Giants saw Quinn Preston have a look on Eamon McAdam, only to flick his effort just wide of the net, but it was the Flames who got on the board at just 1:20 as a loose play in front of the Belfast goal saw former Giant Lewis Hook fire home to put the visitors ahead. (0-1)
And the Flames would pull two ahead shortly after when Patrick Bajkov scored on the powerplay, Preston called for cross-checking and the newly-signed Guildford forward wristing a shot low past Beskorowany from the right circle at 5:15. (0-2)
A Logan Fredericks tripping penalty gave the Giants a first powerplay of the night and they nearly pulled a goal back on three occasions, a chance close in at the net seeing Greg Printz hit the crossbar before two well-worked back door plays were not converted.
But the Giants would tie it up before the end of the period, though, and it came through captain Mark Cooper as Kohei Sato drove towards the net, rounded the cage and put it back in front for the winger to tap in at 14:51 (1-2) before a beautiful pass from Greg Printz set up the skipper for a one-time finish at 17:44. (2-2)
The Flames would restore their lead just 1:01 into the middle frame through the lightning-quick Ryan Tait, who had been denied on the breakaway right at the end of the first period, but this time he used his speed to sear into the offensive zone and finish through the legs of Beskorowany from the right circle. (2-3)
But once again the home side would come back to tie it as Charlie Curti and Ara Nazarian combined for Preston to tap home his first goal in seven games at 29:27 to level the scores again (3-3), and the Giants thought they had taken the lead shortly after when Sean Norris’ one-timer from the left circle found its way past McAdam, only for the referees to wave it off for goaltender interference from Sato.
Adam Keefe’s unsuccessful challenge led to Belfast killing off a delay of game penalty as a result and it would cost them as Guildford retook the lead on the man advantage at 31:23 as Bradley Lalonde went behind the net and put it back in front for Hook to grab his second goal of the night. (3-4)
Daniel Tedesco nearly came back to challenge his old side as he came close to tying it up when he wandered through the slot and forced McAdam into a big save, and then Ben Lake was inches away from levelling it right on the stroke of the intermission when he batted a puck out of the air and then hit the post with his follow-up effort.
An early slashing penalty against Lake was played out by the Giants, who would dominate the final period, but they would be constantly kept at bay by the resolute Flames defence, who also were able to deny the home side on two powerplays as Alex Yuill (cross-checking) and Matt Alvaro (boarding) both sat.
It was in the final few minutes that Belfast had most of the chances to try and force overtime as they once again couldn’t capitalise on a Bajkov tripping penalty, and Printz was left staring at the ceiling when his shot right in front of goal was tipped over the bar by a Flames stick after Beskorowany had been pulled for the extra skater.
At the end it looked like Belfast had found an equaliser when Cooper’s shot was deflected towards the net by Nazarian only for a Flames defenceman to hook it clear just as it was about to trickle over the line, sealing the win for the visitors.
The Stena Line travel to Altrincham to take on Manchester Storm on Sunday 5 November 2023, before returning to face off against Cardiff Devils on Saturday 11 November 2023. Tickets are available here.