Belfast Giants beat Coventry Blaze to make Playoff Finals weekend

Belfast Giants' Patrick Dwyer with Coventry Blaze's Nicolai Bryhnisveen
Belfast Giants' Patrick Dwyer with Coventry Blaze's Nicolai Bryhnisveen

The Stena Line Belfast Giants advanced to the PredictorBet Playoff Finals weekend at the Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham thanks to back-to-back wins over the Coventry Blaze.

The Giants defeated the Blaze 7-2 on Sunday and 12-2 on aggregate following Saturday’s impressive 5-0 home win.

The Giants were dominant from the start on Sunday and goals from Smotherman (x3), Ferland, Vandermeer, Johner and Riley helped the Giants clinch a place at the Playoff Finals weekend for the first time since 2016/17.

Next up for the Giants is a Playoff Semi-Final clash against the Guildford Flames on Saturday 13th April, face-off 1pm. Saturday’s second Semi-Final, face-off 5pm, sees the Cardiff Devils take on the Nottingham Panthers.

The Grand Final takes place on Sunday 14th April, also in Nottingham, face-off 4pm.

Tyler Beskorowany backstopped the Giants to Sunday’s win in Coventry with the Belfast side missing Guillaume Gelinas, David Rutherford and Andrew Dickson.

Jonathan Ferland opened the scoring for the Giants – finishing well at 10:43, assisted by Mark Garside.

Jim Vandermeer’s cannon of a slapshot at 12:59 gave the visitors a two goal lead on the night, assisted by Blair Riley and Darcy Murphy.

Jordan Smotherman’s nice play right at the end of the period gave the Giants an eight goal advantage on aggregate – scored on the powerplay and assisted by Pat Dwyer and Josh Roach.

Dustin Johner posted Belfast’s fourth of the night at 21:03 before the hosts hit back with a quick double.

First – Shawn Pauly netted on the powerplay, unassisted at 26:27, which was followed by Ben Lake’s smooth finish at 30:37, assisted by Dominik Florian and Chris Joyaux.

Jordan Smotherman fired home his second of the game early in the middle period, assisted by Kendall McFaull and Kyle Baun at 41:14.

Smotherman completed his hat-trick at 58:03, assisted by Kyle Baun and Kevin Raine, before Blair Riley rounded off the scoring at 59:31, assisted by Mark Garside and Kendall McFaull and the Giants were home and dry to head towards Finals weekend.