Giants claim shutout win over Storm in revenge clash
The Giants made up for dropping a point against the Manchester Storm on Friday with a shutout win over them on Saturday.
The Friday night saw the sides battle out what was a frustrating game for the Giants.
Despite out-shooting their opponents, they just couldn’t seem to find the net and Storm netminder Matt Ginn also did his part to make that difficult.
A 2-2 result after regulation – with goals from Kendall McFaull and Darcy Murphy for Belfast and Dane Byers and Shane Bakker for Manchester - pushed the game into overtime and then a shootout.
Penalty shots from Ciaran Long and Riley Stadel then proved the difference and sealed the win and the extra point for the visiting Storm.
Saturday night’s encounter saw the Giants take the lead mid-way through the opening period with a goal from Pat Dwyer, as he made his return from injury for both games against Manchester.
And mid-way through the second period, Belfast fans thought Dwyer had doubled their lead, but his effort was waved off for player in the crease.
Just about two minutes later though, there was no doubt about Dustin Johner’s cracking goal to put the Giants 2-0 up.
For a second night running, tensions boiled over and an incident involving David Rutherford of the Giants and the Storm’s Mike Hammond spilled into a full-on brawl between both sides.
Rutherford took a two-minute penalty for roughing, while Hammond took two minutes for roughing and another two for interference inside the last minute of the middle period.
In the third period, the Giants forged ahead when a big shot from Rutherford beat Ginn in the Storm net and made it 3-0 to the home side.
And less than two minutes later, Josh Roach struck on a Giants powerplay to make it 4-0.
More trouble bubbled up throughout the rest of the game, but ultimately the Storm couldn’t find a way to get on the board and Giants netminder Tyler Beskorowany claimed another shutout.
The Giants now break for Christmas, but return to home action at the SSE Arena Belfast on 28, 29 and 30 December, with games against Milton Keynes Lightning, Glasgow Clan and Dundee Stars.
Head Coach Adam Keefe told UTV he would be taking a gamble in order to give his players a few days off over Christmas.
"It is a gamble, but I think it's important mentally for the guys to be able to step away from hockey," he said.
"Then we'll come back refreshed and get back into action."