Belfast came from 2-0 down to tie the game in the second period but went in at the break trailing 3-2. David Goodwin could not convert his penalty shot in the final period, before the Flames found their fourth, and despite a late short-handed goal from David Gilbert in the dying seconds, the Giants were forced to settle with 2 points from 4 after this weekend’s road trip.
The Guildford Flames have made a hot start to the domestic season, and it showed after just 51 seconds when a drop pass to Kyle Locke was struck with ferocity from the right circle for an early lead. (1-0)
Belfast struggled to take a foothold in the game throughout the first 10 against the fast-skating flames, hampered by a David Gilbert slashing call at 4:15.
Daniel Tedesco made the most of a Flames break at 9:50, working his way in close on Giants goalie Jackson Whistle to double the home side’s lead. (2-0)
The Giants were handed their opportunity when a Guildford too many men call (served by Johan Eriksson, 12:47) was doubled up with a Sam Marklund hooking penalty (13:48) to send Adam Keefe’s side onto the 5 on 3 power play.
The best penalty kill in the league couldn’t withstand the numbers game, and Gabe Bast promptly opened the Giants account at 13:48. (2-1)
There were worrying scenes in the second minute of the middle period as Will Cullen stayed down following a hit in the Giants zone. He eventually made his way back to the bench to warm applause and re-joined the action later in the period.
As he often does, Scott Conway found the goal Belfast needed with a clutch finish at 25:39 to tie the game. (2-2)
Chad Butcher and Tyler Soy combined to bring the Giants close to their third in the 34th minute, but Flames goalie Eamon McAdam separated Soy from the puck at the crease.
Despite Belfast’s relative dominance throughout the period, it was Guildford who found the next goal at 35:54 when Ryan Tait’s precision square-pass to Brett Ferguson was hammered home from the right circle. (3-2)
The Giants began the final period with half a minute on the power play after Mike Crocock’s slashing penalty bridged the break at 38:29.
David Goodwin had the game on his stick at 53:35 when Alex Yuill’s tripping call handed Belfast a penalty shot, but the Giants captain couldn’t convert.
It was a further tripping call that put the game out of reach for the Giants, as Jackson Whistle was called in the crease, before Guildford’s Sam Marklund netted his side’s fourth at 56:15. (4-2)
Belfast clawed one back short-handed as Steve Owre sat for high sticking, and David Gilbert pressed to edge his side back to within a goal at 58:09. (4-3)
However, despite a time out from Head Coach Adam Keefe and a late surge with Whistle behind the bench and the extra skater in, time ran out for the Belfast Giants at The Spectrum.
The Stena Line Belfast Giants return home to The SSE Arena, Belfast on Wednesday evening to face the Dundee Stars in Premier Sports Elite League action. Tickets are on sale HERE!