The Belfast Giants returned home to the Odyssey Arena on Saturday night after a month on the road and rewarded the crowd of over 5,000 with a 6-3 victory over the Edinburgh Capitals, a result that maintains their four point lead at the top of the Elite League standings.
In truth had it not been for Capitals netminder Tomas Hiadlovsky the score line could have been much worse as he had to face 54 shots during the game compared to 28 for his opposite number Stephen Murphy and at the halfway point he’d kept his side to within a goal before the Giants pulled clear.
Home town captain Adam Keefe had opened the scoring at 13:50 of the opening period as he managed to stuff the puck in off Hiadlovsky from a tight angle but despite dominating play, a mistake from Murphy allowed Jan Safar to equalise before the first intermission.
The Giants retook the lead for good at 23:06 on the powerplay when Kevin Saurette gobbled up a rebound in front of the Capitals net after Hiadlovsky failed to corral the initial shot.
Calvin Elfring’s little wrist shot from the right point was tipped in by Dustin Whitecotton at 31:14 to establish a little daylight between the two teams and defenceman Kevin Phillips fired home to make it 4-1 and a three-goal second period.
Saurette’s tidy one-timer made it 5-1 early in the final twenty minutes which only set the stage for the goal of the game as Chris Higgins showed exceptional skill to beat a couple of players before beating Hiadlovsky from the slot, a superb solo effort.
Goals from Richard Hartmann and Michal Benedik put a little gloss on the score line and annoyed Giants coach Paul Adey enough for him to call a late timeout and remind his players how to finish a game off.
“It was really good win, I thought we dominated most of the game, especially five-on-five. We got up 6-1 and then feel asleep for a few shifts and gave up a couple of goals but overall I thought we played very well,” explained coach Adey.
The Giants will be back at the Odyssey Arena on Friday and Saturday night against the Fife Flyers and Sheffield Steelers.
Adey added, “We have three good lines and the scoring is being spread around and overall after a close first period we started taking our chances and we can now look forward to what will be two tough games against Fife and Sheffield next weekend.”