Giants Return Home With Emphatic Win Over Flyers
The Belfast Giants came from a goal down to score seven unanswered in a comprehensive dismantling of the Fife Flyers at the SSE Arena on Saturday night, helped by goals from up and down the lineup.
Goalie Jackson Whistle was replaced by Ballymoney’s own Andrew Dickson inside the last ten minutes, sending the SSE Arena to its feet.
The Giants had an early power play opportunity when Jonas Emmerdahl was called for boarding at 3:51, but couldn’t find grade A opportunities in the zone.
They fared slightly better on their second attempt at 12:08 when Eric Naslund sat for interference. When they were set in the zone, the Giants' power play unit peppered Owen but once again couldn’t find a way through.
The Flyers found their opportunity at 15:22 Tommi Jokinen’s backward feed to the blue line from the right circle was wristed by Carson Stadnyk. (0-1)
Belfast continued to wrestle with shooting accuracy as they chased their equaliser in the closing stages. Despite a tantalising shooting lane in the 17th minute, Sam Ruopp’s shot sailed agonisingly high over the bar.
Ciaran Long’s hooking penalty at 23:01 was an unlikely opening for the Belfast equaliser, as JJ Piccinich tore over the blue line on the breakaway to beat Owen shorthanded. (1-1)
A much-improved period in front of goal for the Giants continued when Scott Conway intercepted a Flyers pass in zone at 30:50, shooting on the turn from the mid slot to edge the lead (Assist: Griffin Reinhart). (2-1)
Slater Doggett (tripping, 32:06) was joined in the penalty box by Ben Lake for slashing at 33:08. Faced with 58 seconds of 5-on-3 penalty kill, the Giants dug deep. Not only did they turn away the danger, but JJ Piccinich came closer to yet another shorthanded goal on the breakaway.
It was the Flyers turn to send the puck everywhere, but Jackson Whistle stood tall in the crease.
The Belfast Giants hit their groove as the third period got underway, summoning a 5-goal period and offensive onslaught, which led to the capitulation of the Fife Flyers.
Mark Cooper’s puck across the goal to Slater Doggett at the back door got the goal fest underway at 41:13, before Kevin Raine’s pass to Tyler Soy just 35 seconds later effectively killed the game for Fife. (3-1 & 4-1)
Doggett was called for slashing at 43:28, before Fife’s Carson Stadnyk (hooking) and Chris Lawrence (elbowing) took coincidental calls at 43:55 to turn a Flyers power play into a 4-on-3 penalty kill, followed by a brief spell of Giants 5-on-3.
Mark Cooper took that as an invitation to hammer home Belfast’s fifth at 45:43, a well worked goal alongside Ben Lake and Tyler Soy on the 5-on-3 power play. (5-1)
Belfast’s success on the power play continued as Scott Conway struck at 50:07, before what was probably the loudest cheer of the night as Ballymoney’s Andrew Dickson took over from Jackson Whistle in goal. (6-1)
Jacob Benson’s hooking call at 52:51 led to yet another power play goal, as Mark Cooper put the exclamation point on a dominant Giants performance. (7-1)
The Belfast Giants travel to Nottingham tomorrow to take on the Panthers in league action, before returning to Belfast next Wednesday to face off with the Panthers again in a highly anticipated Challenge Cup Semi Final. Tickets for this blockbuster game are ON SALE HERE!