Player of the game Greg Printz got the scoring under way, with Bobby MacIntyre, Ara Nazarian, and Oliver Cooper also on the scoresheet as Tyler Beskorowany made 25 saves to earn his second win of the weekend, after Friday’s 2-1 victory in Belfast.
The Giants sprang out of the traps right from the drop of the puck and aided by a Myles McGurty slashing penalty, they took the lead at 3:50 as Nazarian’s shot was saved by Rok Stojanovic but Printz was there to sweep in the rebound. (1-0)
And when Nottingham ran into more penalty trouble, Logan Neilson (holding) and Tyler Welsh (high sticking), the Giants once again profited as this time Printz turned provider with a lovely feed into the right circle for MacIntyre to snap home the one-timer at 8:00. (2-0)
Daniel Tedesco had a chance to extend the home side’s lead when he spun and shot in the slot, but it was saved by Stojanovic. When Davy Phillips and Printz took roughing penalties at the same time, the Panthers would get on the board on the 5-on-3 powerplay as Hugo Roy fired in the one-timer from the left circle at 17:00. (2-1)
A delay of a game penalty late in the first period on Josh Roach was killed off early in the second by the Giants and the defenceman would feed Ciaran Long on the rush but Stojanovic made the shoulder save, followed by Tedesco being unable to force the puck home in a scrum at the net.
Still, the chances came for the Giants as Jeff Baum shot from the slot after some great work along the boards by David Goodwin, but Stojanovic was there again, followed by Ben Lake almost setting up Printz driving the net for his second but the netminder made the block.
The pressure would finally pay off as Nazarian showed great strength to force the turnover at the blue-line and played the one-two with Lake to add the third at 34:53 (3-1), and Beskorowany made his only real save of the period when he shoulder blocked Didrik Henbrant’s late effort after he cut in from the boards.
Despite another strong start to the period from Belfast, it was Nottingham who struck first in the final frame just 3:26 in as Otto Nieminen found the net on Beskorowany’s blocker side from the mid-slot to make it a one-goal game. (3-2)
That sparked the Panthers into life, and they started to flood forward, with Beskorowany having to be alert to make three big saves in relatively quick succession from Félix Paré, McGurty, and Mathieu Lemay, but it was the Giants who restored their two-goal lead at 49:20 when Cooper drove in from the boards and jammed it home in close. (4-2)
The Giants could have finished the game off as the second line combined on a three-man breakaway for Goodwin to shoot, with MacIntyre and Nazarian linking up as well but both times Stojanovic made the stop, but it wasn’t to matter as Beskorowany shut the door at the other end to keep Nottingham at bay with Stojanovic pulled for the extra skater and seal the two points.
The Stena Line Belfast Giants continue their mini-series against the Panthers on Saturday, January 20, this time at the Motorpoint Arena, before heading on to face the Coventry Blaze at the SkyDome a day later on Sunday, January 21. The Stena Line Belfast Giants return to The SSE Arena, Belfast to take on Coventry Blaze on Saturday 27 January. Tickets are available here.