Debuting goalie Peyton Jones put in a Man-of-the-Match performance, allowing one goal from returning Devil Joey Martin in the 3-1 road win.
The puck dropped on 2022-23 in emphatic fashion. An end-to-end first minute saw big chances at both creases which debuting Giants goalie Peyton Jones and returning Devil Ben Bowns dealt with.
Welsh forward Bayley Harewood handed the Giants their opening power play with a tripping call at 3:04, but Belfast didn’t find a rhythm with their first man advantage of the year.
Back at full strength, Cardiff’s Mark Richardson found Brodie Reid who tested Peyton Jones in the Giants goal before a 2-on-1 at the other end saw Bowns deny David Goodwin in the 7th minute.
Josh Brittain sent Belfast onto their second power play mid-period, and Bowns was called upon again to turn away a scramble at the crease.
The debuting Colby McAuley opened the Belfast Giants account on the year at 16:11 after a forced turnover in the Devils zone found Tyler Soy for the assist. (0-1)
Belfast’s Matt Foley sat for cross-checking with 2:12 remaining in the period, but the score remained unchanged at the break.
Cardiff’s Brodie Reid rang the crossbar just 30 seconds into the middle period, as both sides picked up right where they left off.
Mark Louis took one for the team in the 26th minute, sitting for a trip on Tyler Soy as the Giants forward pressed down the slot on the breakaway.
It was Cardiff’s turn on the power play with 11:33 left in the period as Kevin Raine sat for a trip on Justin Crandall, but Belfast stood tall with their best penalty killer in the box.
The returning Joey Martin tied the game from the right circle on the power play at 34:29, as Matt Foley sat for interference. (1-1)
Mark Cooper found Ben Lake at the edge of the slot within the opening two minutes, but Bowns closed the door in impressive fashion.
A Mark Louis slashing penalty with 12:58 left in the game sent the Devils onto an offensively productive penalty kill. The Giants fell to 0 for 4 with the man advantage as Ben Davies called Peyton Jones into action on the breakaway.
Cardiff was caught on the change at 49:45 as Sam Ruopp fed Ciaran Long at the edge of the crease for the go-ahead goal. (1-2)
Belfast’s David Gilbert sat for goalie interference with just over 2 minutes remaining in the game. Peyton Jones shouldered a Brodie Reid shot onto the crossbar, and Cardiff called a time out with 40 seconds remaining to pull Ben Bowns.
The returning Mark Cooper sealed the deal with 11 seconds remaining, feeding the puck into the open net unassisted. (1-3)
The Stena Line Belfast Giants return home on Saturday for another pre-season showdown with the Cardiff Devils at The SSE Arena, facing off at 7pm. Tickets are on sale HERE!