Former Belfast Giant Shane Owen played in the Flyers crease, and was the busier of the two netminders throughout a largely uneventful opening ten, as Jackson Whistle took the start between the pipes for Belfast.
With the Giants camped in the Flyers zone mid-period, early season tensions rose when Ben Lake and Chris Lawrence took a pair of 2-minute minors for roughing at 9:47.
The Flyers meanwhile killed their opening penalty, a Christian Hausinger hooking call at 12:13.
The Giants continued to knock on the door, but it was the visitors who opened the scoring against the run of play when Reece Cochrane got in close on Whistle at 17:08. (0-1)
Darik Angeli struck the post from left circle with 3:30 remaining in the period, and Ben Lake had almost everyone fooled when he skated through traffic in the slot and unleashed a wrist shot on the turn with 1:20 remaining, but the score remained unchanged at the break.
A lasered pass to Colby McAuley over the blue line had the Teal Army on their feet as the second period began, but the puck escaped the Giants’ number 29.
Shane Owen was clinical through the half-hour mark, most notably shooting a leg across the face of goal to pad away Ben Lake’s close range one timer. The Giants continued to comfortably outshoot their opponents but found themselves limited in the number of grade-A chances created.
Chris Lawrence did his best to goad Colby McAuley into a fighting major after taking a holding penalty at 32:28- to no avail.
The Giants were frustrated on the power play to close out the period, as Janne Laakkonen sat for hooking at 37:25.
The Giants continued to be frustrated in front of goal throughout the third. The Fife Flyers continued to employ a gritty, defensive road game, and were content to sit deep and repel the waves of Teal jerseys on attack.
Reece Harsch’s delay of game penalty at 56:34 finally provided Belfast with the opening they were searching for. Chad Butcher was the man who unleashed the shot to finally beat Shane Owen, lifting the SSE Arena to its feet at 57:51. Owen, to his credit, had put in a mammoth performance- facing 58 shots on goal.
As time elapsed, both sides prepared for overtime.
The Giants rallied in the zone, and a Scott Conway laser from the point, delivered with venom, completed the comeback after 48 seconds of OT. (2-1 OT)
The Stena Line Belfast Giants travel to Kirkcaldy on Sunday afternoon for a Challenge Cup rematch against the Fife Flyers. Next weekend, the Dundee Stars visit The SSE Arena, Belfast on Saturday 24th September at 7:00pm as Challenge Cup action resumes. Tickets are on sale HERE!