Back-to-back wins for Giants amid first Pride weekend

The Belfast Giants took back-to-back wins, at home against Glasgow Clan and then away to Guildford Flames, amid the Elite League’s first ever Pride weekend.

All 10 teams across the league took part in the celebration of inclusivity, taking to the ice in specially commissioned jerseys all featuring variations of rainbow detailing.

The Giants jerseys featured a rainbow ‘G’ and the long-held team mantras: “In the Land of the Giants, Everyone is Equal” and “Game for All, Game for Anyone”.

The special shirts were later raffled off to support the Junior Belfast Giants, as an inclusive and diverse team of young people of mixed ability from different communities and backgrounds.

Rob Stewart, Head Coach of the Junior Giants, said: “The proceeds from the jersey raffle will be used to provide essential hockey equipment and ice time that will allow a new generation of players to join and continue playing ice hockey in Northern Ireland.

“The Junior Belfast Giants are open to all young players regardless of ability, race, ethnicity, religion, gender and/or sexuality.”

On the ice, and in front of a sold-out crowd, the Giants stormed into a two-goal lead over the Clan – after Elgin Pearce opened the scoring early in the first period and Curtis Hamilton added to the tally.

Seconds into the middle period of action, David Goodwin fired in the Giants’ third goal of the game to further extend their lead.

But the visitors also got themselves on the scoreboard when Nolan LaPorte beat Shane Owen in the Belfast net to make it 3-1.

Belfast Giants players Elgin Pearce, Brian Ward and Jordan Smotherman on the ice. Credit: Presseye

The third period saw a Matt Haywood goal for the Clan close the gap to just one goal, but the Giants forged ahead again when Elgin Peace grabbed his second of the game.

Giants defenceman Paul Swindlehurst made it 5-2 when he roofed a one-timer past Glasgow’s netminder Jordan McLaughlin.

On Sunday, the Giants then travelled to take on Guildford Flames on the road and took another 5-2 win to make it a four-point weekend.

Curtis Hamilton put the Giants in the lead early on, but Guildford didn’t wait too long to cancel that goal out with one from Jamie Crooks.

David Goodwin’s classy finish but the travelling Belfast side back in front before the end of the opening period though.

Shane Owen in the Belfast Giants net against Guildford Flames. Credit: Guildford Flames

Brandon Shmyr found another equaliser for the Flames in the second period, but the Giants were once more back in front when Bobby Farnham made it 3-2.

The final period of action saw the Giants open up their lead, with a goal from Ciaran Long and an empty-netter from Kevin Raine to seal the deal.

The Belfast Giants, who sit third in the league, are next in action in a home double-header against the Cardiff Devils on Saturday and Sunday.