The Belfast Giants completed a comprehensive four-point weekend over the Manchester Storm on Sunday afternoon, picking up right where they left off on Saturday night with a 6-2 victory.
New signing Jason Bacashihua made his second start in goal for the Storm, but the visitors’ struggles on defence overshadowed a solid individual performance.
Goals from Belfast came from Lewis Hook (2), Mark Cooper, Scott Conway, Cam Knight and Captain David Goodwin, as the home side struck three times on the power play.
Joel Neill reports.
Manchester’s Linden Springer got an entertaining opening period underway with a cross checking penalty after just 24 seconds. A much-improved Giants power play unit moved well in the zone, but couldn’t find a way past Storm goaltender Jason Bacashihua, making his second start for the club.
Slater Doggett and Ben Wilson dropped the gloves at 9:57 in a short tussle that was more ‘takedown’ than ‘fight’. Belfast’s increase in physical play over the weekend was met with yet another appreciative roar from the home crowd.
Tayler Thompson opened the scoring for Manchester on the powerplay at 13:58, with Cam Knight serving a holding call (Assist: Frankie Melton, Curtis Hamilton). (0-1)
Lewis Hook responded at 15:39, tapping home at the back door from a Ciaran Long cross zone pass to tie the game. (1-1)
Belfast looked impressive on a 5 on 3 kill (Ben Lake, slashing, 16:02 & David Goodwin, slashing, 17:14); most notably Mark Cooper, who blocked shots and finished hits with his stick lying broken in the Giants zone.
Scott Conway’s tripping penalty sent Belfast onto the kill again at 24:51, before Frankie Melton cancelled it out with a tripping call of his own at 26:32.
Belfast’s second of the night was another well worked finish at the back door when Scott Conway, straight out of the penalty box sent the puck into the path of Mark Cooper who tapped it home on the power play at 27:23. (2-1)
The Giants killed a Ben Lake tripping call at 33:11 before pouncing on the power play again at 36:52, when Conway took full advantage of Tayler Thompson’s hooking penalty to add a goal to his assist on the night. (3-1)
The referees had a second look for a potential high stick in front of the crease, but after a short review the goal stood.
Darcy Murphy rounded off the second period by heading to the box for a double minor for accidental high sticking, after making contact at the boards in the Storm zone.
Belfast took to the ice for the final period, and promptly went on an offensive rampage.
Linden Springer headed back to the box for holding at 44:20, opening the door for Cam Knight to bury number four at 44:36 (Assist: JJ Piccinich, Scott Conway). (4-1)
A comfortable, precise and speedy Belfast then put it out of reach inside a minute. Lewis Hook struck first at 47:19, getting in close on Bacashihua off a Sam Ruopp pass to add his second of the game (5-1) before Captain David Goodwin made it six at 47:55 (Assist: Mark Cooper). (6-1)
A Storm consolation goal followed at 58:30 when Adam Brady got the better of Jackson Whistle from close range (Assist: Jared VanWormer) (6-2), but it did little to spoil the home side’s party as the Belfast Giants completed a comprehensive four-point weekend in front of an energetic home crowd.
The Belfast Giants travel to Cardiff next Saturday night to face the Devils, before returning home to the SSE Arena to face the Dundee Stars in league action on Sunday 28th November at 4:00pm. Don’t the action- tickets are on sale NOW!