Goals from Ben Lake, Jordan Boucher, JJ Piccinich and Scott Conway helped Adam Keefe’s side to a 6-1 victory on the road.
It was a tale of two very different fortunes as Belfast came into Saturday’s game in Altrincham unbeaten in 11 league games, whereas the Manchester Storm sought to break a 5 game skid.
Jordan Boucher’s snapped wrist shot 2 minutes in was a good indication of the lively start in store, but Storm goalie Jason Bacashihua turned it away with a strong save.
Despite that, the hosts were caught out by the Giants speed out of the traps and paid for it with an early goal from Ben Lake, who was the last man on a beautiful one-two move down the slot (Assist: Mark Cooper, Griffin Reinhart). (0-1)
Anyone in the building fearing, or indeed hoping for an early rout were silenced temporarily as Manchester’s Zach Sullivan struck from the point with a beautiful equaliser seconds later at 3:11 (Assist: Dallas Erhardt). (1-1)
The goal fest did not materialise yet however, as long passages of scrappy play between the sides saw the score locked at 1 at the break.
The middle period was just 11 seconds old when Ben Lake found his second of the game, as the Manchester Storm struggled to match the tempo of the Giants (Assist: Mark Cooper, Slater Doggett). (1-2)
Tayler Thompson’s cross check on Jeff Baum at the boards behind Beskorowany sent the visitors onto their first power play of the night at 21:40, but despite strong offence the Storm stood firm.
Scott Conway was next to the box at 25:35 for delay of game as the Giants penalty kill unit had their first successful outing of the night, culminating in a lively scrum in front of Beskorowany’s crease as tensions raised on both sides.
Ciaran Long had just put blade to ice out of the box following an interference penalty when Scott Conway stole the puck in the neutral zone, skating the slot and pulling left past Bacashihua for Belfast’s third at 31:19. (1-3)
A Lewis Hook holding call at 33:55 almost felt like a Giants power play as the Storm were pinned to their zone on defensive duty.
It was therefore no surprise when JJ Piccinich notched number four at 36:50, crossing the blue line to send it over the Storm goaltender’s glove from the right circle (Assist: Lewis Hook). (1-4)
Game management was the aim for the Belfast Giants as they emerged for the final period, helped by a slashing penalty on former Giant Curtis Hamilton at 46:58. Jordan Boucher picked the puck up over the blue line, dangling his way past the entire Storm kill unit for a cool finish past Bacashihua and a stunning individual effort at 48:54. (1-5)
Things got scrappier mid period, as Tyson Fawcett sat for slashing at 51:08, followed by a controversial interference call on Kevin Raine following a big hit in the neutral zone at 53:40. This was in turn cancelled out by Cam Critchlow, who sat for tripping at 55:02.
Rookie Giant Mack Stewart notched another assist on the Giants’ sixth of the game, working alongside Tyler Soy to put the puck on Boucher’s stick in front of the crease. His roofed finish was the exclamation mark in a scintillating road performance from Adam Keefe’s side. (1-6)
Austin Albrecht was called for slashing at 59:15, handing the Belfast Giants a smooth finish on the power play for their twelfth consecutive league victory, and a four-point weekend.
After a spell on the road next weekend (Cardiff and Guildford), the next Belfast Giants home game will be on Saturday 29th
January at 7:00pm as the Coventry Blaze visit the SSE Arena. Tickets are on sale HERE!