Victory in Dundee sends Giants to Cup Knockout Stage
The Stena Line Belfast Giants made it two consecutive four-point weekends at the Dundee Ice Arena on Sunday evening, clinching their Premier Sports EIHL Challenge Cup group and sending them through to the knockout stage with a late flurry of goals in an intensely physical contest.
David Gilbert opened the scoring with his third goal of the weekend, before Belfast answered Philippe Sanche’s equaliser with a power play goal from Captain David Goodwin and a late double from Scott Conway.
In an action packed first period which had everything but a goal, Mark Cooper was first to come close for Belfast, shooting on the turn after a Tyler Soy rebound by Anton Svensson in the Stars’ goal.
Dundee’s Romans Semjonovs stayed down following contact behind Giants goalie Jackson Whistle’s net in the sixth minute but, after receiving treatment, made his way down the tunnel unaided.
A stretch pass to David Goodwin on the right was saved by Svensson as the Giants pressed in the zone in the seventh minute. At the other end, Dundee’s Philippe Sanche was through on goal mid-period but Whistle denied the 1 on 1.
A squared pass from Goodwin to Scott Conway at the crease was poke checked away by Hugo Reinhardt in the eleventh minute, before Devon Daniels rang Whistle’s post for Dundee on the counter.
Svensson stopped a point-blank shot from Mark Cooper on the power play as Daniels sat for roughing at 15:03, but the Stars goalie’s net had already been knocked from its moorings.
A 3-on-1 breakaway from the Stars saw Drydn Dow put the puck in the net after the whistle was blown for offside. The resulting scrum saw Belfast’s Tyler Soy (cross checking) and Dow (unsportsmanlike conduct) head to the boxes for a period of 4 on 4.
The second period exploded into a physical battle, with 2 goals and 18 penalty minutes shared between the sides.
The Giants killed a Ciaran Long cross-checking penalty at 22:06, and despite being able to find their opener on back-to-back power plays (Folk, boarding, 26:45 and Verrier, slashing, 28:28) David Gilbert struck back at even strength for his third goal of the weekend at 30:31. (0-1)
Scott Conway sat for holding the stick at 31:33, before Dundee scrambled in the zone and Philippe Sanche eventually stabbed the puck home from the edge of the crease to tie proceedings at 31:59. (1-1)
As tensions rose, Belfast’s Gabe Bast tangled with Sanche in a scrum which ended up in the back of Whistle’s net at 36:32. The pair weren’t alone in the boxes for long, as Dundee’s Hugo Reinhardt and Belfast’s Sam Ruopp joined them for roughing at 36:39 alongside David Goodwin who served half of Bast’s coincidental 2+2.
Jackson Whistle threw an impressive glove at Chris Gerrie’s wrist shot in the third minute of the final period, as an intriguing weekend against the Stars neared its conclusion.
Another pair of power plays were exchanged as Giants Captain David Goodwin served a too many men penalty at 46:47, which was killed successfully, followed by Dundee’s Colin Joe sitting for delay of game at 50:40.
It was Goodwin who finally separated the sides with the man advantage, taking advantage of Mark Cooper’s zone entry on the right to fire at an open cage at 51:34. (1-2)
Another Colin Joe penalty (this time for boarding) put the game out of reach for the Stars as Scott Conway’s phenomenal stick work in the zone produced a third at 56:29. However, the Giants forward wasn’t finished as he iced the game in close with Belfast’s fourth just seconds later at 57:04. (1-3, 1-4)
Next weekend, the Stena Line Belfast Giants head to Glasgow for a showdown with Glasgow Clan, before Malcolm Cameron’s side visits The SSE Arena, Belfast on Saturday 1st October at 7:00pm. Don’t miss the conclusion of the Premier Sports EIHL Challenge Cup group stage as the Giants seek a perfect 6 for 6! Tickets are on sale HERE!