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! Continue reading 6-6-6: The Number of The Giants
Whenever you’ve watched the great sport of Ice Hockey or Hockey (depending on where in the world you are) have you ever found yourself wondering or thinking why a team has gone for a certain name? Is there any reasoning behind it? Or is it just marketing? Are they good names, bad names or just downright terrible names?
I have gone for a few teams around the British leagues and tried to find out where on earth the names have come from. Some are relatively easy to guess, while some are just clever tie-ins.
Belfast’s Beskorowany denies a barrage of Blaze goals leading the visitors to a 4-2 victory at the Skydome.
With the announcement of the Philadelphia Flyers new mascot Gritty, something of a debate occurred on the CTP group chat; which EIHL team has the best mascot?
I am unqualified to make this decision. All mascots are valid, and bring joy and entertainment to thousands at each game. However, in the words of hit movie Highlander; “There can only be one!”. Who’s mascot will come out on top? What exactly is Lightening Jack?
And just how many people can I make angry in one post? Let’s go!
Having never attempted it, I would expect being a sports commentator to be very difficult. There’s often a lot going on and the expectation is that you explain it all, live and accurately. As excellent as many of the broadcasters and commentators are across the EIHL, it’s tough to fully go into detail of what happened on a particular play. Perhaps even a scoring play.
Thankfully most EIHL teams post highlights of their games on YouTube which gives fans the opportunity to relive these plays and curse your team’s 3rd line winger for not digging in on a backcheck or failing to chip a puck out of their zone.
For anyone familiar with the terrific work of Justin Bourne of The Athletic, previously Backhand Shelf of The Score, this concept already exists and is executed very well. Not unlike what a video coach would do in a film session with a team, I will attempt to break down the goals of the game and any other play that are interesting enough to merit a further look.
Let’s dig in (video to follow).
Dundee goal @4:30. Matt Marquardt (37) from Brian Hart (88) and Lukas Lundvald Neilsen (10)
The play begins when Pontus Sjögren (87) steers a shot to the his right hand corner because he’s a good goalie and that’s what good goalies do. Mike Sullivan (4) beats Hunter Bishop (61) to the boards and chips a backhand up the strong side to Lundvald who is waiting there to continue a classic quick-up breakout which looks almost perfectly like this.
However this is where it gets fun. Lundvald as F3, recognises pressure will be coming from (39) Patrick Dwyer and he needs to get the puck inside to Brian Hart who is supporting as F1 while Marquardt acts as F2 skating through the middle of the ice. Patrick Dwyer has 400+ games in the NHL in his back pocket and Lundvald pops it through his tripod as if he were one of these.
Jim Vandemeer (9) decides to go fishing and leaves his assignment which is Marquardt and we have a 2 on 1 with Paul Swindlehurst (23) defending. He half commits to Hart which provides the big centre with enough room to dish it through the defenceman for Marquardt to collect and deposit it top bag.
Stars coach Omar Pacha would have been very pleased. The opposing bench boss Adam Keefe possibly wondering why two players on his roster with 800 NHL games combined just got made to look like jokers. It’s also worth a second watch to hear Simon Kitchen the Giants announcer pronounce Matt Marquardt’s surname as if he’s a Shrek character.
Belfast goal @38:55. Mark Garside (7) from Guillaume Gelinas (5) and Kyle Baun (12)
This play begins with a brain fart from Petr Chaloupka (24). While he has room to skate up the right side if he were to continue as Belfast are making a change, he attempts to play it through the middle to Lundvald.
It’s intercepted but likely feeling a bit guilty, he follows his broken up pass and actually pokes it away. However only as far as Garside who sends it straight back up ice where it came from. Chaloupka also falls and leaves the Stars scrambling for coverage and under attack, not his finest hour.
Sullivan as the only defenceman back now, literally points to the middle of the ice for it to be covered as he takes Baun to the boards with some good positioning. Baun gets it back to Gelinas at the point who then switches it inside to Garside who has approximately 3 acres of space to work with.
Fabrizio Ricci (43) should be much closer to Garside but was caught deep trying to cover for Chaloupka possibly. Ricci blocks the first attempt but the second one Sullivan paws into his own net in a bit of a freak play and unfortunate for Sjögren who was playing very well.
Belfast goal @56:19 Kyle Baun (12) from Guillaume Gelinas (5) and Mark Garside (7) a reverse order of the previous goal, interestingly.
We begin the play with Chaloupka lacking a stick which is unfortunate. Some may say in this situation, a winger should give him one as he is almost useless and wingers don’t do a whole lot defensively anyway, but they’ve opted to not go with that. The aforementioned Dwyer plays a bit of a neat trick here.
With the Stars clambering to protect the front of the net they seem to genuinely to forget about him. Hiding behind the Stars net he gets a pass from Baun and sends it back to the point for a shot from Garside. Chaloupka, still sans stick, blocks this but the bounce sends it straight to Garside’s partner Gelinas. Who sends a near perfect drive, low for Baun to tip in from the top of the crease.
Stars M.O.M was deservedly Sjögren who saved 34 of 36 on the road and battled through many goal mouth scrambles and lots of traffic out front. The Stars so far are competing well enough to stay in games against any team in the league. Another woeful night on the powerplay however of 0/6 was matched by a continuation of the excellent PK keeping Belfast 0/5. The Stars were 0/7 against Manchester and 1/7 in Sheffield this week with the man advantage. Depth scoring and a more clinical PP will be key to turn these close games into points and wins.
This weekend sees the Mercedes Benz Fife Flyers take on the giant challenge, the Stena line Belfast Giants, in a double header.
The first match this weekend see’s the two sides battle it out for Elite League points which both clubs will want badly, and on Sunday in Belfast it’s the return leg of the Challenge Cup. If the Giants win that one Fife are definitely out of the challenge cup. Also on Saturday night saw the return to the Flyers line up for Brett Bulmer after his two game ban.
I managed to catch up with head coach Adam Keefe to ask him a few questions ahead of the fixtures.
Tyler Beskorowany was very impressive for the Caps, what made you offer him a contract?
“Tyler’s resume was very impressive and we really liked his size and how confident he was in the net. He came into Belfast last season with Edinburgh and pretty much stole the 2 points for Edinburgh. He’s very motivated to get back to the level he was once at not long ago in the top leagues in Europe and we certainly want to help him get there by backstopping us to a Championship.”
Your defence is basically new this year apart from Mark Garside did you feel that was an area that needed a fresh look?
“We certainly felt we needed some adjustments on the back end yes. But we also knew a few of our defensemen were retiring and we didn’t have a choice but to look for replacements. I am very happy with where we are on defence at the moment.”
You guys have started well in the Challenge Cup, 4 for 4, what are the aims for the Giants this year?
“Our aims never change here in Belfast, we want more silverware. But overall I want us to stay consistent and stick to our process that we will have in place. If we do that for 8 months, success will follow.”
With the league getting better every year what things as a coach do you have to make sure you get right before every weekend?
“It’s important to have your team best prepared for whatever team you may be facing that coming weekend. Pre Scouts are important to help give your guys that little edge on preparation. Aside from that we need to make sure our guys are coming into the weekend feeling good about themselves and ready to compete every game.”
How do you think the new rules will affect the flow of the games this year?
“The new rules so far are taking some getting used to but I do think they are just trying to speed up the game so there is less time between whistles and more pace. I’m on board with that and I think it’ll take some getting used to but I think in time it’ll be a good thing for the league and the product that we are putting out as far as entertainment value.”
So in the first of a double header this weekend the Flyers would be in good spirits after there win in Guildford in midweek while the Giants would be looking to get back on the horse after there loss at home to the Panthers. Fife had Brett Bulmer back from suspension and Joe Basaraba came out and did the pre-game skate.
First Period: The Giants dominated most of it with Jonathan Ferland opening the scoring at 2 minutes 29 seconds he was assisted by Leonard and Shields, that was all the scoring in the first period.
End of the first: Flyers 0 v Giants 1.
Second period: The Giants dominated but Shane Owen kept them out and come the end of the second there was no further scoring.
End of the second: Flyers 0 v Giants 1
Third period: The Flyers finally woke up as at 3 minutes 8 second in Bari McKenzie levelled the scoring from Schaber and Gauthier. A minute later Flyers took the lead, a pass from Brett Bulmer to Evan Bloodoff and he made no mistake scoring his fourth goal in two games giving the Flyers a 2-1 lead. Five minutes later it was 3-1 Flyers as Finucci and Crowder combined for Brett Bulmer to get his First goal as a Flyer, and with just over 5 minutes left the same two men combined again and again that gave Brett Bulmer his second of the night to put result beyond doubt as the flyers had now moved in to a four goals to one lead, then with two minutes to go David Rutherford set up Blair Riley for the Giants second of the night and that would be all the scoring in the match.
Final Score : Fife Flyers 4 v Belfast Giants 2
MOM – Fife: Shane Owen
Belfast – David Rutherford
Fact : Flyers move to second in the league table.
Fife travelled to Belfast for their second game of the weekend and in the Challenge Cup. If Fife had lost they would have been out of the competition.
First period: This time Fife took the initiative and at 2:48 in the first period Bloodoff’s pass set up Bulmer for his first of the night and third or the weekend go give Fife the lead, 7 minutes mates it would be 2-0 Fife as a pass from Stoflet put through Finucci to score, the Giants would get one back in the first through Braun.
End of the first: Giants 1 Flyers 2
2nd period: Much the same as the first Flyers again quick to score first at 7:01 gone. Bulmer would take the puck and drive to the net and as he went round the last defenceman he lost his edge falling to his knees he flicked the puck up and over the Giants goalie to make it 3-1 Flyers and give him his 4th goal of the weekend. At 10:33 the Giants came back and Baun would score his second of the night.
End of the second: Giants 2 Flyers 3
Third Period: In the final stanza the Giants battered the Flyers net but once again the brick wall that is Shane Owen kept them at bay. With about 10-12 seconds left Paul Crowder scored and empty goal to make it 4-2 Flyers and that is how the game ended, thus keeping Fife in the hunt for a place in the quarter final of the challenge cup.
Final Score: Giants 2 Fife 4
That is a very impressive week for Fife. Three wins. One in Guildford and a double over the Giants, 2nd in the league and for my money the only choice for this week’s netminder of the week is Shane Owen. Also Brett Bulmer looks to have finally woken up four goals in two games plus at least one assist means hopefully that is him on a hot streak.
Welcome back to your game previews. Just a couple of games to keep us going before the next weekend of action. There’s one game tomorrow night, Tuesday, and one more on the Wednesday. Both games look interesting encounters, so let’s look ahead to them right now.