Giants take OT Victory over Battling Stars
The Stena Line Belfast Giants rallied to an OT victory over the Dundee Stars on Saturday night following a back-and-forth battle at The SSE Arena, Belfast.
Goals from Scott Conway, Ciaran Long, David Gilbert and Mark Cooper, plus an eventual winner from Gilbert, secured the two points in the Premier Sports EIHL Challenge Cup ahead of a rematch on the road on Sunday afternoon.
Darik Angeli came close for the Giants in the opening minute, striking the post with a thundering shot from the right circle.
Belfast hit the post before a Mac Howlett tripping call sent them onto their first power play of the game at 3:44. It had the zone time, but the Stars held firm.
Gabe Bast flicked a peach over the top from the neutral zone at 6:49, dropping it to the feet of Scott Conway who turned inside for a high blocker finish and the lead. (1-0)
A broken-up play from behind Peyton Jones’ net was pounced on by Dundee’s Romans Semjonovs who made no mistake from the mid-slot at 13:04. (1-1)
Ben Lake’s hooking call at 15:35 tested the Giants penalty kill for the first time, but the score was unchanged at the break.
The Giants were caught cold when Elijah Barriga’s shot was rebounded by Peyton Jones and hammered home by Philipe Sanche after just 18 seconds of the middle period. (1-2)
Drydn Dow’s delay of game penalty at 22:23 passed without incident, as did Scott Conway’s slashing penalty at 28:26 as the sides exchanged power plays.
Ciaran Long brought the Giants back onto level terms with a skilful finish at 30:38, crossing the blue line before deking his way inside and firing top shelf past Stars goalie Anton Svensonn. (2-2)
Belfast dug deep to turn away a full 2 minutes of Dundee 5-on-3 power play when Darik Angeli (slashing) and David Gilbert (high sticking) were called together at 32:27.
Eliijah Barriga tucked away a penalty shot for the Stars at 35:28, after Ciaran Long’s hooking penalty on the breakaway sent Barriga barrelling into Peyton Jones. (2-3)
The Giants bridged the period break on the power play as Ryan Verrier was called for holding at 39:26.
Will Cullen danced his way through traffic in the zone to feed David Gilbert for the tying goal at 44:20, with the set up almost more pretty than the goal itself. (3-3)
But the drama was far from over as Philippe Sanche stole the puck on a breakaway, beating Jones at 49:37 and retaking the lead. (3-4)
Moments later, beautiful work on the backhand from Mark Cooper saw the game tied up once more at 50:08. (4-4)
The Stars were resolute in killing a Chris Gerrie slashing penalty at 51:34, and as time elapsed both teams prepared for overtime.
Gabe Bast found David Gilbert in the zone at 61:39 for a one-time finish past Anton Svensson, and the OT winner. (5-4 AOT)
The Stena Line Belfast Giants travel to Dundee on Sunday for a Challenge Cup rematch with the Stars at 5:00pm. Next weekend, the Glasgow Clan visit The SSE Arena, Belfast on Saturday 1st October at 7:00pm as the EIHL Challenge Cup group stage continues. Tickets are on sale HERE!