Belfast Giants 7-2 Cardiff Devils: Szwez stars as Giants rampant
The Belfast Giants won the first game of a two-match series 7-2 against the Devils last night to take the momentum with them as they travel to the Welsh capital today to take on Cardiff again.
Jeffrey Szwez was the star of the night for the home team, with two goals and two assists while linemate Colin Shields scored twice and added one assist. Shields opened the scoring when he tipped in a Szwez shot at 13:15 to make it 1-0 for the Giants, but the Devils tied the game on the powerplay when Mac Faulkner scored at 15:51 to make it 1-1. The period ended in a dead lock but the second period was all Giants.
The Giants scored four times in the middle frame to put the game out of reach, first from Rob Sandrock with a blast from the blueline at 6:28 of the second period.
Szwez scored his first of the game and his 18th of the season at 12:03 when Dustin Whitecotton fed him a perfect pass on an odd-man rush.
Whitecotton and Szwez then teamed up to set up linemate Shields at 15:12 to make it 4-1 before Darryl Lloyd ended the period with another Giants goal at 18:35.
Szwez scored his second of the game two minutes into the final period before the Devils got one back from Tomas Kurka but the Giants did one final piece of damage when Chris Higgins made it 7-2 with a powerplay goal at 9:41.
The game was exactly what we needed at this point in the season after dropping last weekend's game against Dundee in overtime -- we had to get back on track.
We needed a big performance from Szwez to remind us just how dominant he can be and we got that, and hopefully the team will feed off the win last night and carry that same intensity into today's re-match against the Devils in Cardiff.
The date of the Giants Challenge Cup Semi Final was also confirmed last night, and our likely opponent will be the Devils who are leading their quarter final series by a scoreline of 7-3 over the Fife Flyers.
Regardless of the opponent, the home leg of the semi final will be Tuesday January 28 at the Odyssey Arena-- face off 7pm.