Four-goal Saviano helps Giants to win over Storm
Four goals from Steve Saviano helped the Belfast Giants to a big 9-3 win over the Manchester Storm, with teddies also flying for charity.
The Giants needed a good result after losing out in their last three games, and also knowing this would be their last appearance in a competitive game at home until after Christmas.
There was time to welcome back former Giants player and firm fan favourite Darryl Lloyd for the ceremonial puck drop, to the delight of the home crowd.
But then the Giants didn’t waste any time getting down to business - taking just 45 seconds to claim the first goal of the night courtesy of Steve Saviano.
The goal also served as the trigger for fans to take part in the team’s charity Teddy Bear Toss, throwing soft toys onto the ice to later be delivered by the players to children in Belfast hospitals.
While that wasn’t the start the Storm wanted, it went from bad to worse for the visitors when Darcy Murphy doubled the Giants’ lead with still just three minutes played.
Then, seconds later, Colin Shields – who will be enjoying his testimonial game with a host of Giants legends next week – fired in his side’s third goal, prompting a time-out for the Storm.
Whatever was said on the bench must have done some good for the Manchester team, as they quickly pulled a goal back through Scott Pitt almost straight after the restart.
But barely two minutes later, Saviano was back for his second goal of the game to make it 4-1 to the Giants and restore their comfortable three-goal cushion.
WATCH: Steve Saviano on four personal goals and a team win
The Storm did manage to pull another goal back, through Mike Hammond, to make it 4-2 heading into the second period.
The Giants forged ahead again though after the break, with a great goal from Murphy – his second of the night.
Just before the mid-way point, Saviano sealed his hat-trick with a powerplay goal.
Not content with that though, he soon added another to extend the Giants’ lead to 7-2.
And, in the last minute of that middle period, Savi turned from scorer to provider to put Sébastien Sylvestre through for the Giants’ eighth goal past Storm netminder Mike Clemente.
In the third period, John Kurtz made it 9-2 to the dominant home side, who also swapped out Jackson Whistle and had Ballymoney’s Andrew Dickson take over in nets.
There was late drama when the Storm’s Jay Rosehill ended up getting booted from the game, taking a two-minute penalty for roughing, plus five-for-fighting and a game misconduct.
The Giants’ Kevin Raine sat for two minutes for roughing.
There was also a late consolation goal for the Storm from Luke Moffatt, but ultimately it was the Giants’ night and they ran out the convincing 9-3 winners.
The Giants are next in competitive action away to the Coventry Blaze on Saturday, but will first take part in Shieldsy’s Day on Tuesday.
WATCH: Giants excited to honour legend Colin Shields with testimonial