Record Crowd Cheers Giants On To Win
In front of the biggest crowd of the season, the Stena Line Belfast Giants skated to their second victory in as many days over the Nottingham Panthers by the scoreline of 5-3.
Andrew Dickson got the start in net for the Giants while Stephen Murphy was rested and despite a shaky start, Dickson played solid throughout the night stopping 21 of the 24 shots he faced for his second victory in as many weeks in front of the hometown crowd.
The Panthers opened the scoring at 8.27 when Petr Kalus scored his first of the night to silence the excited Belfast crowd, but the Odyssey Arena erupted five minutes later when Darryl Lloyd tied the game up at 13.29 with Mark Garside and Jeff Mason drawing assists on the play.
With just under 2 minutes to play in the opening period, it was Kalus again who gave the Panthers the 2-1 lead to take into the locker room but Giants leading scorer Kevin Saurette tied the game up just 1.20 into the 2nd period after the Panthers Leigh Salters just stepped out of the penalty box , with Craig Peacock and Jeff Mason picking up assists on the goal.
Midway through the period, Jeffrey Szwez scored another impressive goal to add to a seasonâ€™s long list of them with his 35th of the year with Dustin Whitecotton setting him up on the play. That was the first lead for the Giants of the night and 3 minutes later they added to it when Mason scored his 8th of the season to make it 4-2 with Cody Brookwell and Colin Shields assisting on the play.
At 18.03 of the 2nd period, the Panthers clawed one back courtesy of Leigh Salters making the scoreline 4-3 after 2 periods of play. The third and final frame saw plenty of end-to-end action and the busiest period of the bunch for Dickson in goal for the Giants, but he stood tall stopping all 11 shots he faced. It wasnâ€™t until the dying minutes that the Giants were able to relax thanks to an empty net goal from Chris Higgins to round off the scoring at 19.35.