Belfast Giants 4-1 Coventry Blaze: Giants claim well-earned two points in Elite League clash
Belfast Giants claimed a well-earned two points with a 4-1 win over the Coventry Blaze in Belfast on Monday.
Two David Rutherford strikes and empty net goals from Jeff Mason and Chris Higgins gave the Giants the win which sees the Belfast side close the gap on the Cardiff Devils in first place to four points with both sides now level on games played.
Stephen Murphy started in the Giants goal with head coach Derrick Walser the scratch for the Elite League clash.
After only 3:55, Jim Vandermeer and Garrett Klotz dropped the gloves after the Blaze forward had been called for Slashing.
The Giants outshot the Blaze almost two to one in the opening period, putting 15 shots on the Coventry net compared to the 8 on Stephen Murphy. However Blaze netminder Brian Stewart stood tall for the visitors to keep the game scoreless after the opening 20 minutes.
Despite having the better of the play, the Giants fell behind at 36:44 when Ashley Tait picked up a rebound in front of the net and slotted home on the powerplay, assisted by Ross Venus and Brett Robinson.
40 seconds later and the score was level again when David Rutherford cut inside and ripped a wrist shot high into the Coventry goal at 37:24, assisted by Adam Keefe and Alex Foster.
The Giants took the lead for the first time in this game at 46:19 when David Rutherford netted on the powerplay, assisted by Chris Higgins and Jim Vandermeer.
Adam Keefe and Garrett Klotz dropped the gloves at centre-ice after Giants captain took exception to a hit the Blaze player put on Alex Foster in the Giants' zone.
With 69 seconds remaining in the game, the Giants made sure of the win with a Jeff Mason empty net goal, assisted by Steve Saviano and Ryan Martinelli as Coventry goalie Brian Stewart was pulled for the extra out skater. Chris Higgins added another empty net goal with 28 seconds left on the clock, assisted by Blair Riley and Brandon Benedict.
Rutherford’s second goal of the game proved to be the game winning goal as the Stena Line Belfast Giants made it two wins in-a-row and cut the gap on the first placed Cardiff Devils to four points.
Next up for the Giants are back-to-back home games against the Sheffield Steelers at The SSE Arena on Saturday 7th January, face-off 4pm, and Sunday 8th January, face-off 4pm.
Belfast Giants 4-1 Coventry Blaze
Giants Man of the Match
#47 Adam Keefe