The Belfast Giants execute a Halloween-style revenge in 6-1 victory over The Nottingham Panthers, making it 6 goals, 6 different scorers and 6 consecutive wins!
The Giants came into this game 3 key players down, with Colin Shields, Jim Vandermeer and their top-scorer, Patrick Dwyer, all sitting out due to injury. But in their absence, scoring was rife across the board – Kendall McFaull, Lewis Hook and Hunter Bishop each netting their first goals as Giants.
It was a slow first period for both sides, with the only goal on the board being an Alex Guptill chance on the power play at 7:59.
4 minutes in to the second period, Kendall McFaull relinquished the puck to Blair Riley at the Panthers blue line and skated in towards the net to receive the puck and slot one home low blocker to even things up. His first goal of the season and the first of 4 second period goals for the Giants.
The second Giants goal came just over 1 minute later from Blair Riley on the power play after sustained pressure in the Panthers zone. A shot from Gelinas took a neat deflection from the blade of Riley’s stick to tip the puck into the net and give the Giants a 2-1 lead. A goal that would contribute to a 3 point game for the Giants captain.
The Panthers reacted to going down 2-1 with a short spell of pressure on the Giants in their own end, but with Beskorowany putting in a solid perofmance at the back, the Panthers were unable to capitalise.
A chance on the power play came for the Panthers when David Rutherford took a 2+10 for boarding, but the Giants PK was strong and the Panthers were again unable to even things up.
After a fantastic PK, momentum at this point was on the side of the Giants – the ice heavily tilted towards the visiting side. With the Giants forecheck becoming relentless towards the end of the second period, the puck was turned over behind the Panthers net, and with lots of bodies out front, Beauvillier was able to receive the puck from Darcy Murphy and tap it into the goal to make it 3-1 for the Giants. Captain Blair Riley picking up his second assist and third point of the Game.
3 minutes later saw Josh Roach net his second league goal of the season to extend the Giants lead to 3, beating Garnett on a 2 on 1 chance.
The Giants continued with an aggressive forecheck early into the third. With Hunter Bishop taking advantage 5 minutes in and firing one past Garnett to make it 5-1, the game was all but done.
The Giants closed out the game smartly, with youngster Lewis Hook picking up a well deserved goal with 3 minutes left on the clock.
Over all, an emphatic and deserved victory for the Giants – Their early-season demons well and truly quelled.
Spirits will be high, and they will need to remain so as they face a gruelling 10-game-road-trip before returning home to face Zagreb and Katowice in the Continental Cup.
The Nottingham Panthers will be seeking consistency going forward after a string of WLWLWLWLWL results.
A Notable performance from 22 year old Brit, Lewis Hook, who had a 1+1 game.
The sides meet again in Nottingham on October 28th.
Images: Darren Kidd