The American centre scored all three of his goals inside the opening 21:16 of the game, with Ara Nazarian grabbing two of his own to add to the scoreline as Adam Keefe’s men made it three wins in a row in the League.
A fast start from the Giants saw them with the big early chances as Bobby MacIntyre fed Ara Nazarian on the breakaway but he was denied by former Giants netminder Shane Owen, and instead the Flyers went ahead at 7:43 with a shorthanded goal. Aleksi was penalised for tripping as Lucas Chiodo skated in unopposed on Beskorowany and finished top shelf. (0-1)
But the lead wouldn’t last very long and it was Preston who tied the game for Belfast, Daniel Tedesco bringing the puck into the right circle and feeding it across goal for the centre to snap it in and bring the scores level at 10:54 (1-1), but Fife would retake the lead at 15:00 through Teemu Pulkkinen as a mistake in the neutral zone allowed the Finnish winger to snap home the finish from the left circle. (1-2)
However, it would be a tied game at the first intermission as Preston grabbed his second of the night shorthanded, Nazarian’s hooking penalty resulting in a home goal as Matt McLeod picked off a Fife pass and gave it to his centreman, who rifled home from range to level the scores again at 18:18. (2-2)
It took just 1:16 of the middle frame for Preston to complete his hat-trick and it was a wonderful finish that capped it off, the centre taking the puck from a drop pass in the right circle and picking the top corner over Owen’s glove side to give the home side their first lead of the night. (3-2)
Belfast were next to go on the penalty kill as Miles Gendron, on his return to the line-up, was penalised for cross-checking, but the infringement was played out and Cameron Pound nearly got his first goal in teal shortly after when he fired from the right circle and was denied, while Greg Printz was also blanked by the netminder when he drove in from the left.
But the lead would be two at the second intermission and it would come from Nazarian as he skated onto a stretch pass from Davy Phillips into the offensive zone and snapped the finish past Owen at 34:44 to double the hosts’ lead. (4-2)
Nazarian came closest to adding on early in the final period as he showed some great speed and stick handling to work his way to the crease through several defenders, only to run out of space to get the shot off, and then Kohei Sato couldn’t connect on Bobby MacIntyre’s excellent pass across the crease.
But the Giants would wrap it up on the powerplay as Casey Gilling was penalised for hooking and after Tedesco hit the post from the angle, Ben Lake’s pass to the back post was swept in by Nazarian at 56:51 to round off the scoring. (5-2)
Next up, the Stena Line Belfast Giants head to Kirkcaldy for the second game of their Elite League double-header with the Flyers on Saturday 23 December before another Scottish double-header with the Glasgow Clan, heading to the Braehead Arena on Boxing Day before returning to The SSE Arena, Belfast on Thursday 28 December. Tickets are available here.