Giants wrap up busy weekend with solid win over the Flyers

Having had to play three games in as many nights the Fife Flyers travelled to Belfast for last night’s game against the Giants with plenty of tired legs.

Belfast Giants' goal scorer JJ Piccinich celebrates during Sunday's Challenge Cup game at The SSE Arena, Belfast. Picture: Matt Mackey/Press Eye

And while the Flyers gave the Giants some headaches in the opening exchanges it was the Giants who found the opening goal in the first period at 12.54 when Jordan Boucher found Scott Conway who slammed the puck past Shane Owen in the Fife goal.

Despite Belfast being faced with a Fife powerplay at 18.43 when Slater Doggett was called for cross-checking, it was the Giants who then doubled their lead with an all important shorthand goal at 19.59 from Griffin Reinhart with an assist to Mark Cooper.

With the Giants having to kill a powerplay at the start of the second period the Flyers took their opportunities in front of Jackson Whistles goal at 20.45 when Jacob Benson found the back of the net.

Belfast Giants' Ciaran Long with Fife Flyers' Shane Owen during Sunday's Challenge Cup game at The SSE Arena, Belfast. Picture: Matt Mackey/Press Eye

But the Giants where prompt in their reply and got them two ahead 25.09 with an unassisted from Ciaran Long to make it 3-1 to Belfast.

A fourth goal wasn’t long in coming for the Giants. This time it came courtesy of powerplay goal at 26.27, on a delayed penalty, this time it was Conway who found teammate Boucher in front of the Flyers’ goal to knock it home. Giants captain David Goodwin also notched up a valuable assist on the goal.

At 30.09 Mack Stewart, who was making his home debut for the Giants, found himself in the penalty box after he had been called for interference on a goaltender after bungling Owen into the back of his net.

Nice passing from JJ Piccinich and Boucher set up Conway for his second of the game at 43.58 in the final period.

And just when it looked like there was going to be a sixth goal for the Giants it was the Flyers who stepped up to nick a second goal at 49.06.

With Fife’s Erik Naslund having been called for cross-checking at 56.49 Belfast punished the Flyers with a sixth goal at 57.47 when superb play from Boucher and Goodwin as they stormed the goal, they found J J Piccinich to make it 6-2 to the Giants as the buzzer sounded at the end of the game.

Speaking after the game Giants’ head coach Adam Keefe said that he had been pleased with how his team had performed.

He said: “I thought it was a solid performance from start to finish for us. Obviously we were coming out against a very tired team, Fife had played three in three this weekend and then had travelled here this morning for tonight’s game.

“So we were aware that they were going to be fatigued and it would be a tough night for them.”

Adam added: “We wanted to make sure that we started the game well and we got on top of them early so to not give them much life at the start.

“If you give a team a little bit of life they can sometimes they can find that energy that they didn’t think they had to hurt you.

“We certainly wanted to make sure that we didn’t give them any opportunities.”

Adam also felt that there was improvement in the Giants’ play against Fife and they worked hard at eliminating mistakes in their game.

Keefe said: “We also wanted to eliminate some of the mistakes in our game tonight, meaning no odd men rushes and I thought the guys did a good job of that throughout the entire game. There are little things that we can build on going into next week’s games.”

All-in-all a solid Giants performance next up the Cardiff Devils on the road.