Kris Beech Scores Late On As Giants Win In Nottingham
The Stena Line Belfast Giants made it two wins in as many nights thanks to a Kris Beech overtime goal to give the visitors a 2-1 win against the Nottingham Panthers. The Panthers equalised in the third period to take the game to overtime after Chris Higgins had given the Giants a 1-0 lead, however it was Belfast who followed up Saturday’s home win against Manchester with a overtime winner in Nottingham.
Sunday’s Elite League clash saw Brandon Benedict, Chris Higgins and Jonathan Boxill all return to their former club with Mike Radja the Giants healthy scratch.
The first period was end-to-end but scoreless with both sides testing out each others’ netminders – Stephen Murphy for the Giants and Miika Wiikman in goal for the home side. Wiikman did well early on to keep out Johan Ejdepalm with Murphy saving well from a Stephen Schultz slapshot.
The deadlock was broken at 24:41 and it was two former Panthers who helped the Giants into the lead. Chris Higgins’ initial shot was saved, but Benedict and Higgins both followed up and it was Belfast’s #68 who forced in the rebound.
The Giants penalty kill unit was severely tested in this game – killing off seven Panthers’ powerplays, frustrating Nottingham and their 5,000+ home fans at the National Ice Centre.
A nice Nottingham move saw the home side level early in the third period at 43:16 through Geoff Waugh and the first clash of the season between these two rivals went to overtime.
Yet again, the Giants were forced to kill off a one man advantage for the Panthers, this time in overtime, with Referee Dean Smith sitting Jeff Mason for two minutes for Tripping. However the visitors, led by Stephen Murphy in goal, stood tall and kept the Panthers at bay.
35 seconds after returning to full strength – found himself in space and fired the puck home, past Wiikman, for the sudden death winner to give the Giants a priceless 2-1 win at the home of the Nottingham Panthers.
Nottingham Panthers 1-2 Stena Line Belfast Giants
Giants Man of the Match:
Photo: Andy Gibson – Blacklab Photography