BALLYMONEY man Andrew Dickson had an unexpected taste of Continental Cup action in Germany on Friday as the Belfast Giants opened their campaign with a runaway 11-1 win over Dutch champions Geleen.
Giants coach Doug Christiansen decided to withdraw regular netminder Stephen Murphy in the second period with his team leading 7-0 to give the local player some time on the rink.
“Dicko is an important part of our set-up and it was good to be able to give him some ice-time.” said Christiansen.
Dickson responded with a good save almost immediately after his introduction and went on to concede only once after the Giants had controlled things from the start.
But they are realistic enough to know that Saturday’s game against the German host team Landshut will prove a much tougher test of their mettle.
“We realise that the game with Landshut will be a really difficult one for us and we will have to be at our best to win it.” added the Giants coach.
“But I was very pleased with the way we played against Geleen and we managed to keep our energy levels up throughout the game.
“Sometimes it be difficult to do that against weaker opposition who can drag you down to their level but we kept going.”
Only the tournament winner will progress to the next phase of the competition which is scheduled for Italy from November 23-25.
On Friday the Giants never looked back after going into a two goal lead after only seven minutes with goals from Mark Garside and Criag Peacock.
Further goals followed from Noah Clarke, Will Colbert and Scott Champagne as they had the game virtually won by the end of the first period as they built up a 5-0 lead.
Clarke, Andrew Fournier and an excellent individual effort from Greg Stewart increased the Giants’ lead to 8-0 at the end of the second.
Team captain Adam Keefe extended the advantage and after Geelen replied, Gareth Roberts and Dave Phillips added further goals.
After Saturday’s game with the Germans the Giants face Romanian champions HSC Csikszereda on Sunday afternoon.
Giants programme: Saturday: Giants v Landshut (Germany),(630pm Irish time).
Sunday: Giants v HSC Csikszereda (Romania) (1pm).