The Belfast Giants made progress towards two pieces of silverware on Monday night beating the Hull Stingrays 6-1 at the Odyssey Arena.
In doing so Paul Adey’s side increased their lead at the top of the Elite League to a massive eleven points and they also made the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup as the game doubled up in both competitions. Cardiff or Fife will be their opponents later in the season.
This was the eighth straight win for the Giants, a season high, and as the New Year rolls in they are on course for a big 2014.
It was an enjoyable end-to-end encounter with the Stingrays giving it a real go but two second period goals for the home side broke the game open.
Kevin Saurette opened the scoring with 3:51 remaining in the opening period when he latched on to a terrific pass from the impressive Chris Higgins to fire home the one timer.
In the final minute of the first session Saurette turned provider as his pass was converted by Evan Cheverie.
Hull got their reward for a strong start to the second period when Guillaume Doucet scored on the powerplay but at 34:18 Higgins, not for the first time this season, provided the sublime bit of skill of the evening as his toe drag of the puck allowed him to get a shot off that was saved, but he was on hand to knock in his own rebound joining his line-mates on the scoresheet.
The fourth goal, which was the real backbreaker for the Stingrays, came shorthanded for the Giants at 38:10 and was all down to hard work shown by Adam Keefe and Darryl Lloyd.
Keefe’s forecheck sprung the puck loose and his pass picked out Lloyd was the neat finish.
The final period saw the Giants score two more goals with Craig Peacock getting them both. The first at 43:51 was on the powerplay and the second owed much to the play of Saurette and his final pass which set him up perfectly.
This was another classy display by the Giants who continue on their merry way through their busy holiday schedule with two more important home games coming up this week with defending champions, Nottingham Panthers, at the Odyssey on Thursday night and the dangerous Dundee Stars coming to town on Sunday.