A free-flowing start to Saturday night’s visit of the league leaders was curtailed for the first time when Mark Cooper sent the Giants onto the kill for cross checking at 9:08. Grant Cooper drove the net short handed, but the Flames were spared by good blocking.
There was nothing separating the sides at the intermission, with Guildford’s Eamon McAdam and Belfast’s Tyler Beskorowany each turning away 9 shots out of 14 total.
Logan Fredericks wasted no time in knocking the Flames ahead, beating Beskorowany just 45 seconds into the middle period. (0-1)
However, Belfast worked the penalty box to their advantage for the remainder.
Firstly, with Alex Yuill sitting for tripping at 22:10, a dish down the wall found David Goodwin who laid it goalward in search of Mark Cooper, before Steve Owre pounced at the back door at 22:16. (1-1)
Yuill’s return to the box for slashing at 34:13 saw Swedish forward Henrik Eriksson register his first goal in teal, with a beautiful finish from the left at 35:47. (2-1)
The Flames were put under immense pressure in the dying seconds, as Steve Owre was denied his second goal twice in quick succession by McAdam.
Giants forward Grand Cooper was incensed by a slashing call at 47:41, but his side turned away the danger.
It looked like Belfast would be facing an uphill battle with the game on a knife edge when Gabe Bast received a 2+2 for cross checking and unsportsmanlike conduct at 54:51, but it was offset somewhat when Ben O’Connor’s roughing call on Sam Ruopp behind the Giants goal sent it to 4 on 4.
Steve Owre almost put the game out of reach for the home side at 4 on 4, taking a beautiful pass up the middle from Conway, but being denied by McAdam in the Flames goal.
The same McAdam was called to the bench as Guildford returned to the power play and skated 6 on 4 in the final two minutes. It was then Conway’s turn to almost put the game to bed, sending a faceoff win just wide of the empty net before launching a long puck off the post- both from his own zone, before the final buzzer sealed an important victory for Adam Keefe’s side.
We go again this afternoon (Sunday) at 4:00pm as the Fife Flyers visit The SSE Arena, Belfast in ViaPlay Elite League action. This game is almost sold out, but remaining tickets will be on sale HERE!