GIANTS TAKE 3 FROM 4 ON THE WEEKEND WITH PANTHERS SHOOTOUT DEFEAT
The Stena Line Belfast Giants dropped a single point out of the four on offer this weekend, after Saturday evening’s double header finale with the Nottingham Panthers went to a shootout.
Belfast were on the board early once again, as Ciaran Long’s attempted puck to Steve Owre on a 2 on 1 was rebounded off a defenceman’s skate and back to the blade of Long, who fired into the open net on the left at 2:22. (1-0)
David Gilbert was unlucky not to score on the shorthanded breakaway as Scott Conway sat for cross checking at 10:44, as Panthers goalie Alex Dubeau was a match to the threat.
The physicality was noticeably ramping up in the final few minutes of the period, when Nottingham struck level courtesy of Adam Brady at 16:39. (1-1)
Brett Welychka edged a lead for the visitors at 22:54, bettering returning Giants netminder Tyler Beskorowany on the one-on-one breakaway. (1-2)
The Giants came up short on their first power play of the game as Tanner Sorenson sat for slashing at 23:21, but the Panthers lead did not last long.
Scott Conway managed to work the puck over the line at 27:43, before a long range one timer from Gabe Bast at 29:47 marked new Giant Henrik Eriksson’s first point in teal with the assist. (2-2, 3-2)
The sides exchanged power plays after the half hour mark as Eriksson sat for tripping at 31:13, before Sorenson returned to the box for high sticking at 34:38.
Kelly Summer’s shot from distance was tipped down by Adam Brady for his second goal of the game at 47:48, levelling the game for the Nottingham Panthers once again. (3-3)
The Giants pressed just over seven minutes from time, but Panthers goalie Alex Dubeau was world class in the face of a barrage of grade-A opportunities, keeping the game alive through regulation.
With one point secured, Belfast did all the right things during a 5 minute period of 3 on 3 sudden death OT, but could not find the net. Scott Conway came close in the opening stages, breaking away for a one on one with Dubeau, but the Panthers goalie tracked and covered to see away the danger.
Josh Roach followed with a breakaway of his own, with Dubeau saving his effort on the five-hole and turning away a second bite of the cherry on the rebound.
Goals in the first round (Puffer) and second round (Summers) of the shootout sealed the second point for the Nottingham Panthers, with shots from Eriksson, Owre, Conway and Gilbert failing to find the net for the Belfast Giants.
The Stena Line Belfast Giants travel to Guildford on Wednesday night (18th Jan) for the first leg of our Challenge Cup Semi Final with the Flames. Next weekend, we remain on the road with visits to the Cardiff Devils (Fri 20th @ 7:30pm) and Nottingham Panthers (Sat 21st @ 7:00pm) before returning home for a GIANT double header with the Sheffield Steelers (27th and 28th January, 7:00pm). Tickets are on sale HERE!