Belfast Giants back to winning ways with a four point weekend
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There were no goals through the opening 20 minutes. The liveliest point of the period was Jacob Friend and Dyson Stevenson dropping the gloves just before the ten minute mark, and taking a fighting major each.
Clan could have taken the lead with a two-on-none caused by a turnover in the Giants' end, but Nate Kallen couldn't control the puck and the change went begging.
Having gone 20 minutes without a goal, the crowd at the SSE Arena were then treated to three in the next 20 minutes. Stevenson put the visitors ahead 16 seconds into the second with a shot from behind the goal line that went in off Tyler Beskorowany’s stick, but an excellent Quinn Preston wrist shot cancelled that out just under six minutes later.
Ara Nazarian put the Giants ahead at 32.46 shortly after his team killed off a five-on-three, and with 1.42 left in the period Kohei Sato snuck a rebound from his own shot through Jake Kielly’s pads to give the Giants a 3-1 lead.
The Giants got themselves a three-goal cushion early in the third. Printz’s shot was saved by Kielly but the loose puck bounced in front, Bryce Reddick didn’t know where the puck was, and Mark Cooper swooped in to fire past Kielly to make it 4-1 with 3.45 played in period three.
Sato hit the post shortly before the middle of the period as the home side’s speed started to play a part.
Jordan Cownie had a late goal washed out for being kicked into the net as Clan ended with a 5-1 loss.
Beskorowany took a puck to the lower body as the clock wound down, allowing Petr Čech to make his professional hockey debut.
The following night the Giants secured a four point weekend with a two-goal win over Nottingham at the Motorpoint Arena in the Panthers’ first competitive game since October and the death of their forward Adam Johnson.
It was a quick start with both teams on the scoresheet inside two minutes. Daniel Tedesco opened the scoring after only 33 seconds off a defensive turnover
But the Panthers were level 65 seconds into the game through Jake Ryczek cutting in past Printz and firing into the net from the slot.
Otto Nieminen had the best chance to put the Panthers ahead in what would be a scoreless second period, but the long, out-stretched pad of Beskorowany kept him out.
At the other end, Preston’s shot from the circle deflected out of play off Rok Stojanovičs facemark to keep things level.
With just 1.22 gone in the period, Matt McLeod broke down the wing, behind Stojanovič’s net, and wrapped-around beating the Panthers goalie five-hole to put the Giants back ahead.
Stojanovič was pulled with exactly two minutes left, but on their second attempt at the empty net Sato hit the target for the Giants to make it 3-1 with 1.31 to play.
The game wasn’t yet over, however, with Didrik Hendrant driving the net and beating Beskorowany 16 seconds later to bring the score back to 3-2. But Ara Nazarian added another empty netter with 13 seconds to play to settle the game.