Belfast Giants sign former Braehead Clan netminder

NEW NETMINDER: Gardett Zemlak who has been signed to replace the injured Stephen Murphy
NEW NETMINDER: Gardett Zemlak who has been signed to replace the injured Stephen Murphy

The Belfast Giants will have a new netminder for Wednesday night’s visit of the Fife Flyers to the Odyssey Arena.

In a further blow to their Elite League title hopes Stephen Murphy was hurt during the dramatic comeback victory over the Coventry Blaze on Saturday night.

It was clear during the shootout that Murphy was in pain as he struggled to get up after every Coventry shot and it was to his immense credit that he saved four of the five Blaze efforts setting the stage for Robby Sandrock to score the all important winner to give the Giants a vital two points.

After the game Murphy, who has started all thirty-four games this season, was assessed by the Giants medical staff who ruled him out indefinitely with a groin injury.

With the final qualifier for the Olympics coming up next month it’s hoped the Team GB number one will have recovered in time to take part.

Coach Doug Christiansen was on the phone immediately after the game and the Giants moved quickly to secure the services of Canadian goalie Garrett Zemlak who will make his Giants debut tonight.

Zemlak who had an outstanding season in 2011/12 as a member of the Flyers made the move to Glasgow in the summer joining the Braehead Clan.

This was a move that unfortunately didn’t pay off for the 23 year old from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, as earlier this month he was released from his contract as the team struggled for consistency.

Defenceman Sam Roberts will also be out indefinitely following a scan that revealed a broken collarbone after a hit from Coventry defenceman Jeramie Domish early in Saturday’s game.

“We have been hit hard with injuries as of late, and losing Murph could have been disastrous.

“But we are happy that we were able to agree to terms with Garrett before he headed back to North America,” explained Giants General Manager Todd Kelman.

“He had a few options in leagues over there but he wanted the opportunity here in Belfast and is looking forward to making his debut.”

The Giants go into the game six points behind the Nottingham Panthers at the top of the standings and this is their game in hand.

The top two will meet in Nottingham on Saturday night as the Giants try to keep their hopes of defending their title alive.

Coach Doug Christiansen added, “We know what lies ahead of us at the weekend but first we have to take care of business against Fife.

“We lost to them in their rink the last time we played them so we know we have to be at our very best to beat them before we can even begin to think about Nottingham. We have a number of games left and wer have to keep winning.”