Garside’s goal, his first in 51 games, and his assist on David Gilbert’s 3-1 goal brings his total points as a Belfast Giant to 227; tying Jeff Mason for 7th all-time (Source: Davy McGimpsey).
The Giants were without the services of Tyler Soy in an otherwise complete line up as proceedings got underway at The SSE Arena for the final time in 2022, with December signing Donovan Neuls making his debut at the centre of Adam Keefe’s third line.
Flyers’ goalie Shane Owen was clinical in his crease throughout the early stages, most notably turning away a spinning effort from an in-form Steve Owre just shy of the five minute mark.
A great heads-up play by Josh Roach on the left of the Flyers zone saw the puck lasered to Ben Lake, who drove the net and fired home on the opposite side to open Belfast’s account at 11:13. (1-0)
Liam Blackburn’s puck to Chris Lawrence at the opposite end could have caused damage after the restart, but Jones was steadfast in the Giants crease against a superb 2-on-1 effort.
The Fife Flyers had a perfect start to the middle period, as Zack Phillips pounced on a rebound to wrist the equaliser from the bottom of the right circle at 20:47. (1-1)
In an otherwise scrappy period, Belfast regained their lead from an unlikely source, as veteran Scottish defenceman Mark Garside punched home his first goal of the season thanks to determined net-front presence at 31:10. (2-1)
A wayward pass in the Giants zone sent Jaane Laakkonen on the breakaway three minutes from the interval, but the home side’s blushes were spared by another crucial stop from Peyton Jones.
Belfast began the final 20 minutes on the power play, after Brayden Sherbinin’s delay of game call with 37 seconds remaining in the second period heralded the first penalty minutes of the game.
Mark Garside was in the middle of the action once again at 49:22, working the puck along the boards on the left and pulling the puck back to David Gilbert, who fired near side to extend the Giants’ lead. (3-1)
It was 50:34 before Belfast had their first kill of the night, as Scott Conway sat for hooking, however a typically aggressive shift saw away the danger short-handed.
Flyers coach Todd Dutiaume pulled Shane Owen with less than 2 minutes to play, but despite a time out in the dying seconds the visitors could do nothing to claw their way back at 6 on 5.
The Stena Line Belfast Giants close out 2022 in Scotland, with a return visit to the Fife Flyers on New Year’s Eve (Saturday) at 5:00pm. We return to home action on Wednesday 4th January at 7:00pm for the Challenge Cup Quarter Final, second leg against the Nottingham Panthers. Tickets are on sale HERE!