Belfast Giants get back on track after successful weekend

Darryl Lloyd was on from  for the Belfast Giants this weekend
Darryl Lloyd was on from for the Belfast Giants this weekend

The Belfast Giants halted their worst losing streak in five years with a 6-3 win at the Nottingham Panthers on Sunday night.

The 3-2 reversal against the Hull Stingrays on Saturday was the third Elite League defeat in a row for Steve Thornton’s side, the first time since December 2009 they’d lost that many successive games in regulation.

But with Thornton threatening changes to a line-up that despite several key injuries should be higher in the table than fifth place, his players responded with a resilient victory at the National Ice Centre.

Darryl Lloyd got the Giants off to the perfect start with two goals in the opening four minutes of the game.

Mike Kompon and Davy Phillips assisted on his first at 1:12 and Lloyd netted his ninth of the season at 3:35.

But then the Giants found themselves in penalty trouble and with Colin Shields and Adam Keefe in the box, Cody Wild made it 2-1 at 9:47.

However Kevin Westgarth restored the two goal advantage just 36 seconds into the middle period only for Bruce Graham to match that effort.

At 27:13 the Panthers tied the game at 3-3 through former Giant Chris Higgins, incredibly this was the second goal of the game scored on a 2-man advantage for the home team.

The Giants didn’t buckle however and at 32:50, on a powerplay of their own, they got a lucky break with the puck going in off Wild with Craig Peacock getting credit for the goal.

Jeff Mason’s fifth goal of the campaign at 44:48, again with the man advantage gave the Giants a little breathing room but netminder Carsen Chubak was forced to make a number of important saves as the Panthers piled on the pressure.

The Giants withstood it all and Ray Sawada added the empty net goal to secure a vital two points.

In Saturday night’s game the Giants outshot the Stingrays 45-17 but found netminder David Brown in great form but for the chances they created they needed to score more than two goals.

The game started well enough with the Giants taking the lead on the powerplay at 8:43 when Peacock scored.

However they couldn’t hold on to the lead through to the end of the first period after Carl Lauzon tied the game at 1-1 at 18:11.

The turning point came when first Peacock took a holding penalty and Kompon was called for boarding.

Hull took advantage by scoring twice on their powerplay. Skating 5-on-3 Matthew Davies put them ahead at 35:50 and then with a one man advantage and just twenty seconds later, Zach Hervato scored to make it 3-1.

Westgarth struck at 42:53 to close the gap but there would be no more scoring.

The Giants return home on Friday night against the Coventry Blaze.