Giants Squeeze Out Series Win Over Hull
Despite a first period scare, the Stena Line Belfast Giants skated to victory over the Hull Stingrays on Sunday to book their place in the playoff final four next weekend in Nottingham.
The Stingrays were the better of the two teams in the opening period, and one Stingray in particular â€“ Carl Lauzon, who scored 2 short handed goals on the same Giants powerplay to give the visitors a 2-0 lead after 10 minutes of action. The pressure continued on Stephen Murphy in goal for the Giants, but he turned aside the rest of the shots he faced in the first 20 minutes to keep the scoreline close going into the middle frame.
The Giants could not find a way past Ben Bowns in goal for Hull until the dying minutes of the second period when Jeffrey Szwez placed a perfect pass onto the stick of Colin Shields who rocketed a shot past Bowns to break the shutout and pull the Giants within a goal after 40 minutes of play.
The Giants finally tied the game at 2 goals a piece when Kevin Saurette tipped in a pass from Evan Cheverie on the powerplay with Jeff Mason drawing the second assist at the 8:12 mark of the third period and then Darryl Lloyd scored one of the nicest goals of the season when he squeezed his way between the Hull defenders and undressed Bowns for the game-winning goal.
The 3-2 victory gave a series scoreline over the two games of Giants 7 â€“ Hull 3, which means the Giants are heading to Nottingham for the Playoff Final Four. Their opponent will be determined by the results of the other two series, because the final four teams are re-seeded after the quarter finals, so the Giants will face the lowest overall seed remaining in the final four.