No respite as Belfast Giants prepare for key three-game run

The Belfast Giants celebrate against Braehead Clan

The Belfast Giants celebrate against Braehead Clan

The Belfast Giants begin a stretch of three home games this week with a clash against the Hull Stingrays at the Odyssey Arena on Monday night.

If there was any thought of complacency with a nine point lead at the top of the Elite League after they swept their home-and-home series with the Braehead Clan at the weekend, there will be none as the game doubles up as the quarter-final of the Challenge Cup as well.

Of course the Giants will be favourites as they look to extend their season best seven game winning streak.

“Hull can be a dangerous team, they played us hard twice in their building already this season and they have a couple of players who can stick the puck in the net so we’ll need to be focused,” admitted Giants coach Paul Adey.

“I don’t think it makes much difference that the game counts in two competitions but we know the importance of getting a win means we make progress in the league and Challenge Cup so we can’t afford to take a night off.

“I’m very happy with the way we are playing at the moment and we just need to make sure that we carry the same intensity into every game.”

For the first time in the four year history of the Braehead Clan, they sold out their arena on Saturday night helped by the large contingent of Giants fans that made the trip, happy after their 4-1 win on Friday night.

And the top two teams in the standings produced an eleven-goal thriller in one of the games of the season so far.

A whirlwind start by both teams but it was Clan who hit the front with a shot by skipper Ash Goldie at 5.57. Giants missed out on three powerplay opportunities but late in the period just after the Giants misfired on a two-man advantage, Dustin Whitecotton popped up to tie the score at 18.06.

Period two was a goal fest with defences missing in action. The Giants scored twice in 22 seconds to lead 3-1 with Kevin Saurette at 21.38 and Gareth Roberts scoring his first of the season at 22.00.

The home side called a time out and after the Giants had a goal disallowed for a man in the crease the hosts were back in the game at 23.29 with Kevin Bergin on target.

It was 3-3 at 26.06 as Tristan Harper slid the puck past Stephen Murphy but back came the visitors and at 27.12 Craig Peacock edged his side ahead again.

This remarkable period turned again as the Clan hit a quick double with Bergin completing a hat trick with counters at 35.45 and 37.27.

The former also saw the ejection of Giants defenceman Robby Sandrock for abuse of the official.

Even then the drama continued with the Clan having the puck in the net a sixth time courtesy of former Giants Matt Towe, only for it to be ruled off for the net being dislodged.

Effectively penalty problems at the start of the third period killed the Clan’s chances as on a 5-on-3 advantage Saurette scored his second at 44.35 and then again on the powerplay Jeffrey Szwez fired in what turned out to be the game winner at 48.15.

Plenty of near things at both ends after that but a breathless night ended with Giants once again finding a way to win.




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