Giants Settle For a Point in Dundee After Third Period Rally
Despite taking a first period lead, the Stena Line Belfast Giants were forced to chase a 3-1 deficit in the third period on the road to Dundee on Friday night; tucking away the equaliser with just over 10 minutes remaining, before Connor Sills clinched the win for the Stars in overtime.
The sides meet again on Saturday night at 7:00pm in Scotland as the Giants 4 game road trip continues.
The Belfast Giants forecheck was strong as an end to end first period commenced, with Ben Lake on the hunt behind Stars goalie Adam Morrison from the drop.
Tyler Beskorowany was tested in the Giants goal as Mark Cooper sat for a dubious holding call at 9:11, but the penalty kill unit was more than a match for the threat across two minutes.
Gabriel Desjardins had possibly the grade A opportunity of the period for the hosts, as his snapped shot from the low left circle off a Charlie Combs pass was turned away with 7:30 remaining.
Combs- a standout name on this Stars roster all season long- broke over the blue line on the left with 3 minutes remaining, but a calm Giants defence pinched to take away the inside lane. Combs did not re-emerge after the period end.
At the other end, JJ Piccinich played the puck into traffic from behind the net, finding Giants Captain David Goodwin at the edge of the crease for an easy finish and the opener at 18:05 (Second Assist: Scott Conway). (0-1)
Ciaran Long and a sharp Piccinich-to-Goodwin pass threatened the Stars in first five minutes of the middle period, but the Giants fortunes were halted abruptly.
Philipe Sanche’s tripping call at 25:56 looked like a chance for Belfast to capitalise on their early tempo, but Scott Conway’s trip at 27:26 nullified the advantage and sent Dundee onto a power play of their own. Sebastian Bengtsson promptly fired a vicious shot on Beskorowany’s glove side to tie the game at 28:47 (Assist: Spencer Dorowicz, Gabriel Desjardins). (1-1)
Dundee took the lead just over 3 minutes later when Toms Rutkis tucked the loose puck past Beskorowany at the crease (Assist: Sebastian Bengtsson, Connor Sills). (2-1)
There were signs of life from the Giants after the drop, but Slater Dogget’s breakaway opportunity was overplayed and gathered by Morrison.
Ciaran Long was incensed by a slashing call at 32:34, and Bengtsson found an opportunity to strike his second power play goal of the game at 33:16 (Assist: Gabriel Desjardins). (3-1)
Belfast had a power play opportunity when Craig Moore sat for slashing at 34:42- but struggled to click in the zone.
With work to do, Belfast got their final period off to the best possible start as Kyle Haas’s slashing penalty just 35 seconds in was converted from close range by JJ Piccinich at 40:46 (Assist: Griffin Reinhart). (3-2)
An early opportunity to tie it up emerged when Dundee got caught on the change at 43:15, but as Bengtsson sat for too many men the Giants power play unit faltered.
The equaliser eventually came at 49:39 when Cam Knight struck off a Slater Doggett pass, and despite a referee review for goalie interference, the goal stood. (3-3)
Belfast poured forward in the closing ten minutes, despite having to weather a Slater Doggett holding penalty at 54:31, but as regulation expired Adam Keefe’s men turned their focus to overtime.
The early pressure was on Adam Morrison as Belfast continued to hunt for their winner, but after a frantic scramble in front of goal Connor Sills found his opportunity on the breakaway- crossing the blue line to snipe Beskorowany and secure the extra point for the Stars at 61:56. (4-3)
The Belfast Giants’ road trip continues tomorrow night in Dundee with a rematch against the Stars, before a trip to Fife on Sunday. They return home on Saturday 19th February at 7:00pm to take on the Fife Flyers at the SSE Arena. Tickets are on sale HERE!