Ciaran Long could have had Belfast on the board in the opening seconds, as he pounced on the puck in the neutral zone for a one-on-one breakaway which was swallowed up by Storm goalie Hayden Lavigne.
It wasn’t all one-way traffic in the early stages, as Storm forward Jake Bricknell took a drop pass for a shot through traffic in the second minute, ringing Peyton Jones’ post.
Belfast’s top line combined for the opener at 3:32, with Captain David Goodwin firing home off Mark Cooper’s pass, before Scott Conway poked the home side’s second from the edge of the crease at 8:52. (1-0, 2-0)
Conway and Manchester’s Scott Simmonds took holding penalties following a skirmish at 11:12, before Stephen Johnson clawed one back for the visitors at 13:32, picking up a loose puck at the crease. (2-1)
The Giants had to turn away a too many men penalty, served by Sean Norris, before another period of 4 on 4 when Michael Korol’s boarding on Gabe Bast drew the ire of Conway for his second spell in the box at 16:49.
A poor start for Belfast saw Tyson Fawcett skate a loose puck from the neutral zone, beating Peyton Jones for the tying goal at 22:10. (2-2)
A broken stick in the Storm zone handed Darik Angeli an opportunity to square the puck to Ben Lake, who wristed the puck into a tiny gap above Lavigne’s shoulder to retake the lead at 25:19. (3-2)
The Giants killed a Gabe Bast delay of game penalty at 26:29, before coming up short on their first power play of the afternoon when former Sheffield Steeler Anthony DeLuca was called for tripping at 30:44.
The game was all square again when Dallas Erhardt’s shot from range was tipped down by Jake Bricknell at 35:30. (3-3)
Belfast went in at the break on the kill as Gabe Bast sat for tripping at 38:20, but not before Manchester struck the crossbar in the dying seconds as they swarmed the zone.
The air was sucked out of The SSE Arena, Belfast as Jesper Ohrvall fired Manchester into the lead just 24 seconds into the period, with his sauced puck dropping in at the crease and coming off the back of Matt Foley’s stick at 40:24. (3-4)
Scott Conway’s roughing call was dealt with by the Giants in a crucial kill, but the Manchester Storm were next to the score sheet when Cam Critchlow was first to the puck on the rebound and wristed into the open cage at 52:47. (3-5)
Colby McAuley was sent to the box for a slash on Storm goalie Hayden Lavigne just under 6 minutes from time, before Belfast clawed one back at even strength through Scott Conway at 56:55. (4-5)
Adam Keefe called a time out and pulled his goalie, but in frantic closing scenes the Manchester Storm held on to secure a 4-point weekend in Belfast.
The Stena Line Belfast Giants return to the road next Saturday 10th December, facing the Cardiff Devils in Wales at 7:00pm. We return home on Sunday 11th for an afternoon showdown with the Dundee Stars at 4:00pm. Tickets are on sale HERE!