Giants weather Storm to tie up quarter-final first leg
Manchester Storm 3 - 3 Belfast Giants
The Belfast Giants managed to fight their way back to a 3-3 draw against the Manchester Storm in their Challenge Cup quarter-final first leg away from home.
The Storm were without netminder Mike Clemente after he was suspended for hitting a Giant with his blocker pad when the two sides last met.
Phillip Spanswick featured between the pipes instead, while Giants netminder Stephen Murphy starred for his side with a string of great saves to deny the Storm early on.
The Storm's first goal came just over a minute into the second period, when captain Trevor Johnson picked up a loose puck as he found himself alone in front of the Giants net and fired home.
Barely two minutes later, it was all square again as Jeff Mason put a nice finish on a pass from Giants player-coach Derrick Walser after Blair Riley took control of the puck in the Storm zone.
Once again a Storm player found themselves alone in front of the Giants net though, and this time it was Mario Valery-Trabucco who bagged his shot and let his side retake the lead.
A five-on-three powerplay for the Storm then saw a wide shot from Cody Cartier rebound off the backboards and fall to Matt Bissonnette who extended their lead to 3-1.
The Giants started to close the gap late in the second period with a goal from Steve Saviano.
The third period then saw nice work from Matt Nickerson pay off when he found Chris Higgins and his goal tied up the game.
With neither side having secured the advantage, they now meet again at the SSE Arena for the second leg on Tuesday night.