Hat-tricks from Dustin Johner, on his 900th career game, and Kyle Baun, helped the Stena Line Belfast Giants defeat the Nottingham Panthers 8-5 in Belfast on Sunday evening.
Jordan Smotherman stepped off a plane and scored on his debut with Darcy Murphy the other scorer in a thirteen goal thriller at The SSE Arena.
Tyler Beskorowany backstopped the Giants to the win with the home side missing Guillaume Gelinas, David Rutherford and Andrew Dickson.
Kyle Baun opened the scoring at 5:44, finishing off a sweeping Giants move, assisted by Darcy Murphy. Dustin Johner doubled the hosts lead at 7:08 with a cool finish, assisted by Jim Vandermeer.
Tommy Hughes started the Nottingham fightback at 8:14, assisted by Chris Stewart, before Stewart posted a goal of his own at 9:04, assisted by Alex Guptil, as the Panthers drew level in Belfast.
Kyle Baun netted his second of the game to restore the Giants lead at 14:08, assisted by David Rutherford and Darcy Murphy.
Baun and Murphy combined well for the Giants fourth of the game at 14:39 with Belfast’s #15 finishing well past Michael Garnett in the Nottingham net. However the Panthers pulled one back right at the end of the opening period as Robert Farmer squeezed the puck past Tyler Beskorowany.
Jon Rheault fired home the equaliser for Nottingham at 24:59, assisted by Chris Stewart and Justin Kovacs.
Dustin Johner’s smooth finish only 41 seconds into the final period, assisted by Kyle Baun and David Rutherford, edged the hosts in front once again and the forward netted his hat-trick at 53:11, assisted by Chris Higgins.
With Garnett pulled, Brett Perlini pulled one back for the Panthers at 58:38, assisted by Robert Farmer and Alex Guptil. The Giants responded with an empty net goal of their own at 58:57 as Kyle Baun finished off, assisted by Darcy Murphy and Dustin Johner.
Smotherman, making his debut for the Giants after taking to the ice after getting off a flight, sealed the win at 59:05, assisted by Blair Riley and Jonathan Ferland.
Darcy Murphy’s dramatic late winner gave the Stena Line Belfast Giants a 6-5 win over the Coventry Blaze on Saturday night in Belfast. Murphy skated coast-to-coast to fire into the top corner of the Blaze net at 58:32 to give the Giants an important home win.
Jonathan Ferland opened the scoring at 8:27 with a cool shorthanded finish, assisted by Jim Vandermeer and Josh Roach. Pat Dwyer doubled the hosts lead at 11:08, assisted by Mark Garside and Darcy Murphy, as the Giants took control halfway through the opening period.
Kendall McFaull squeezed the puck through the pads of Matt Hackett at 16:00, assisted by Paul Swindlehurst and Kyle Baun as Belfast took a 3-0 lead into the first intermission.
The Blaze battled back and pulled one back early in the middle period when Ben Lake stroke at 23:11, assisted by Shawn Pauly and Dominik Florian.
Dustin Johner restored the Giants three goal advantage at 30:54 with a powerplay effort, assisted by Darcy Murphy and Kyle Baun.
Alex Nikiforuk made it 4-2 at 32:33, assisted by Luke Ferrara and Kevin Morris, before a double from Shawn Pauly at 33:54 and 38:27 brought the Blaze level at the end of 40 minutes. Ross Venus, shorthanded, edged the visitors in front for the first time in this Elite League clash at 48:19, assisted by Shawn Pauly and Justin Hache.
Josh Roach netted a classy equaliser at 51:37 on the powerplay, assisted by Dustin Johner and Colin Shields.
At 58:32, Darcy Murphy skated coast-to-coast to score a dramatic game winning goal, assisted by Curtis Leonard, to send the Belfast crowd wild.