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Giants edge home past Devils test

Encounters between the Belfast Giants and the Cardiff Devils have always been nail-biting battles.

Belfast Giants' J J Piccinich with Cardiff Devils' Mac Carruth during last Friday's Elite Ice Hockey League game at the SSE Arena, Belfast. Picture: William Cherry/Presseye
Belfast Giants' J J Piccinich with Cardiff Devils' Mac Carruth during last Friday's Elite Ice Hockey League game at the SSE Arena, Belfast. Picture: William Cherry/Presseye

Right from my first match reporting on a Giants versus Devils game back in the 2000/01 season they have always left me sitting on the edge of my seat.

And last weekend’s match between the two sides, both second and third in the Elite League, didn’t disappoint in getting the adrenalin pumping.

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The game spilled over at 30.54 with a pile-on in front of, or on top of, Devils goalie Mac Carruth.

Roughing calls were handed out to Cardiff’s Trevor Cox and Justin Crandall, and Belfast’s Ben Lake, handing the hosts the power play.

In the end only one goal from Tyler Soy at 38.55 separated the two warring sides.

With Cardiff troubling Tyler Beskorowany’s net with their extra skater in the dying seconds of the game Matt Register thought he had sent the game into overtime.

Following a lengthy review, one which felt like it was going on for an eternity, the referees waved it off for goalie interference. The SSE erupted with both delight and relief and the Giants held on for the victory.

Speaking after the game goalscorer Soy said: “The game was a lot of fun, it was a very competitive game and felt like a play-off game.

“They are a very fast team and opportunistic team who always create good scoring chances.

“All round we played a very solid game, Besko was amazing in nets for us and he really saved us tonight.

“But its great to come with the win after a game like that.”

In what was a very physical game right from the first buzzer, the Giants were equal to everything that the Devils threw at them.

Soy said: “I think the amount of physicality shows the level that exists between the two teams. There is great competitiveness. Then you also have the fans really loud right from the get go and that lifts everyone. When you have all that games are going to be fast and physical.”

In a way the win at the SSE was a little bit of revenge for the close games that Giants have lost to the Devils on the road this season.

Soy remarked: “The win is huge, they are one of the teams who are ahead of us in the standings, so anytime that you play against them they will be huge games and we have picked up two really important points with that win.”

Asked about the goal that was waved off at the end of the game goalie Beskorowany said: “I felt that the guy had skated across and got at the end of my blocker a little bit where the puck ended up going.

“So I got up right away and talk to the ref. I asked them to review it in a very polite mannerly way.

“We haven’t seen to many of those waved off this season, so for them to make the right call was huge for us.”