Giants Defeat the Blaze
The reigning Elite League Champions Belfast Giants secured their second victory in as many night’s over the Genting Casino Coventry Blaze, skating away from the Skydome Arena with a 3-6 win on Sunday night.
The first period was a wild one with seven goals scored. Giants defenceman Kevin Raine was first on the board, his first of two at 2.57. Blaze man-of-the-match David Broll then made it 1-1 at 6.12, assisted by Matt Pohlkamp and the two combined again just two minutes later (8.15) to put the home side 2-1 up.
A long-range effort from British defenceman Paul Swindlehurst tied the game up again before Raine’s second gave Belfast a 2-3 lead (13.33).
As per the night before, the physicality ramped up as the game went on with Blaze defenceman David Clements becoming a casualty, leaving the game after a hit behind his own net.
To the Skydome’s excitement at 14.02, the score was tied again (3-3) when a M.Pohlkamp cross-ice pass bounced off a Belfast players skate and into the net.
Former Blaze forward Ben Lake, who was instrumental in the Giants victory the night previous made it 3-4 shortly after (18.52), ending the high scoring opening twenty.
Both teams clamped it down defensively in the second period, each killing numerous minor penalties without conceding.
The only powerplay goal of the night came on 47.02 when Patrick Mullen fired Giants 3-5 in front, a goal which appeared to drain the belief of a tired looking Blaze team.
At 49.03 Jordan Smotherman claimed the final goal of the game and with the victors all but decided, Brit Jordan Hedley gave Canadian Jamie Phillips a well-deserved rest between the pipes for the final ten minutes.
With Andrew Johnston being denied on a penalty shot by Belfast goalie Shane Owen, the Blaze were to find no way back as the Giants took a 3-6 victory and completed a four-point weekend over their opponents.
Head Coach Danny Stewart said, “It was a tough weekend. I don’t think we played bad hockey, but just not enough for periods of time. We made a few too many mistakes and looked tired. We’ve played 6 games in 11 games against teams who play heavy hockey and it caught up with us.”