Giants Hit Blaze For Six On Retro Night In Triumphant Return To League Action
The Stena Line Belfast Giants returned to Viaplay Elite League action with a dominant win over the Coventry Blaze at the SSE Arena as they showed no signs of a Challenge Cup hangover with a 6-1 victory on home ice.
Only three days after lifting the Cup with victory over the Fife Flyers, Adam Keefe's side got two goals from each of Steve Owre, Mark Cooper and Scott Conway - who recorded his 100th point of the season - to pick up the two points on Retro Night.
It took just 3:30 for Owre to put the Giants on the board as they got off to the quick start Keefe was looking for, Blaze netminder Paavo Hölsä making the initial save from David Goodwin but the winger followed up for the finish. (1-0)
Gabe Bast nearly added a second shortly after when his shot trickled through Hölsä's legs but out the other side, while an excellent defensive play prevented Owre from setting up Goodwin for a tap-in.
At the other end, Tyler Beskorowany needed to be on top form to deny Colton Yellow Horn, the lethal Blaze winger skating in one-on-one but the Giants goaltender standing tall to make the save.
It was in the second period that Belfast blew the game open and Conway was the man to kick things off just 21 seconds in as Owre this time turned provider, sending the puck across the crease for the British centre to tip in. (2-0)
Coventry then had a chance to get back into the game when Ciaran Long was called for hooking for the first penalty of the game, but instead it was the Giants who struck for a third time shorthanded as Ben Lake set Mark Cooper away on the breakaway and he finished at 28:43. (3-0)
And after the penalty kill provided a goal, the powerplay would do likewise as passing out front from Bast and Conway set Owre up for the finish and his second goal of the game at 34:02 as Tanner Lishchynsky sat for roughing. (4-0)
Hölsä was also required to come up big one more time before the second intermission to deny David Gilbert on the breakaway shortly after the Giants killed a bench minor penalty, and they also played out a slashing call against Mark Cooper, too.
Both sides had powerplay opportunities early in the third as Peyton Frantti was boxed for boarding for Coventry, while the returning Tyler Soy sat out for tripping, but it was on the third powerplay of the third period that the Giants added their fifth through Conway.
The centre grabbed his milestone point when he was set up by Mark Cooper out front as David Clements headed off for unsportsmanlike conduct, flicking the puck into the roof of the net five seconds into the man advantage at 50:49. (5-0)
The Blaze did get a consolation goal and ended Beskorowany's bid for yet another shut-out as J.D. Dudek set up Mitch Cook in front of goal for the tap-in at 56:06 (5-1), but Mark Cooper would send the fans home happy as he finished from a tight angle at 58:42 to round off the scoring. (6-1)
The Stena Line Belfast Giants are back on home ice at The SSE Arena, Belfast tomorrow, Sunday 5th March, as they face Coventry Blaze in the second ViaPlay Elite League clash of a double header weekend. Tickets are on sale HERE!