Giants Narrow Gap On Summit with Flyers Goalfest
The Stena Line Belfast Giants secured another four-point weekend in a wild Sunday afternoon encounter with the Fife Flyers at The SSE Arena, Belfast, winning 9-4.
The victory puts the Giants just 2 points behind the league-leading Guildford Flames through 38 games played, and level on points with the Nottingham Panthers and Cardiff Devils (57), however Paul Dixon’s Flames hold a game in hand over all three.
Belfast laid siege to the net in a hot start to Sunday afternoon’s encounter with Fife- and were richly rewarded.
First, Steve Owre continued a superb weekend with a rebound finish at just 30 seconds, before a shot from Henrik Eriksson after the restart struck a body in front and dropped into the path of Mark Cooper at 2:30. (1-0, 2-0)
Scott Conway’s tripping call at 3:12 did little to dissuade Belfast, as Ciaran Long came close to a short-handed finish on the breakaway.
Gabe Bast was next with a vicious snipe from the mid-zone at 11:01, before Captain David Goodwin added a fourth at 13:01. (3-0, 4-0)
A Fife time out ahead of the restart was a brief reprieve before Brayden Sherbinin’s tripping call at 17:15 sent the home side back on the hunt, with Henrik Eriksson burying a fifth past an embattle Shane Owen at 19:05. (5-0)
Despite the Giants continuing to press throughout the opening minutes of the middle period, it was the Flyers who struck first when Liam MacDougall’s pass from the middle found Zack Phillips on the left for a clinical finish at 23:18. (5-1)
Bari McKenzie won his battle in front of the net to add a second for the Flyers at 28:33, before Belfast halted the comeback as Jeff Baum struck his first of the season at 32:08. (5-2, 6-2)
There was just enough time for the Giants to make short work of a Scott Conway cross checking penalty at 35:26, ahead of the final intermission.
Sherbinin returned to the box for Fife at 40:13 for an interference call, which was quickly sent to 4 on 4 when Gabe Bast was whistled for a questionable interference call on goalie Shane Owen.
However, Bast exacted his revenge upon his release, catching the puck and tearing off on the breakaway to slam home Belfast’s 7th at 42:46. (7-2)
Despite the goalfest playing out before their eyes, the ovation of the night from the Teal Army went to local Belfast Giants goaltender Andrew Dickson, who replaced Jackson Whistle for the remainder of the game.
Zack Phillips went on to score his second of the game at 49:38. (7-3)
Liam MacDougall sent Belfast back onto the power play with a hooking call at 54:28, but make up for it upon his release by scoring his first goal in a Flyers uniform, on the power play at 57:06, as Ciaran Long sat for cross checking. (7-4)
The Giants were quick to respond, as Henrik Eriksson fired an 8th at 57:44, before a bizarre goal from Scott Conway, which took a hefty deflection off a Flyers defender, rounded off proceedings at 59:35. (8-4, 9-4).
The Stena Line Belfast Giants return to action after the international break on Tuesday 14th February, on the road to the Nottingham Panthers before a trip to the Guildford Flames on Wednesday 15th. The Giants return home to The SSE Arena, Belfast on Saturday 18th (Glasgow Clan, 7:00pm) and Sunday 19th February (Nottingham Panthers, 4:00pm). Don’t miss the hottest ticket in town, get yours HERE!