Belfast Telegraph

Friday 31 October 2014

Belfast Giants are in seventh heaven

Brad all over: Belfast Giants' new-boy Brad Smyth was on target for Doug Christiansen's men last night as they notched up a hard-fought win over Dundee Stars

Dundee Stars 3 Belfast Giants 5: What the Belfast Giants lacked in numbers, they made up for in commitment and character to record a seventh successive win last night.

Doug Christiansen’s injury ravaged side couldn’t see off the Dundee Stars inside 60 minutes at the Odyssey on Thursday night, needing a penalty shoot-out to secure two points.

Last night in Dundee they had to come from behind again — indeed they trailed twice against the Elite League’s bottom placed team — and rattled in three goals in the third period to seal what was eventually a comfortable win.

The Giants are without five players at present, leaving the remaining players to step up to the mark and fight for every point — which is exactly what happened in Dundee.

With return dates running into months rather than weeks for all but one of the injured players Christiansen’s men are going to have to grind out every point and if they can maintain — or even increase — their current seven-point lead at the top of the table until the physio’s room begins to empty, it will be difficult for anyone else to stop them from claiming the Elite League crown.

Ross Dalgliesh, drafted in on a short-term contract to cover for the injuries, made an early impact, assisting on the first goal, which was scored by Dan Welch after just six minutes.

Despite firing 20 shots on the Stars’ goal during the first period, the Giants went into the first break level, after Chris Zarb levelled the scores 90 seconds before the teams left the ice.

The Stars grabbed the lead when Dan Ceman struck six minutes into the second period, but the Giants responded quickly and three minutes later they

were on terms thanks to Josh Prudden, who netted from Dan Welch’s assist.

When Brad Smyth was penalised for hooking as the second period drew towards a close the Stars took full advantage and restored their lead through captain Brent Hughes.

The Giants raised their game in the final period and once they got into the lead they refused to let go.

First Mike Bayrack made it 3-3 when he netted a powerplay goal of his own — only the second powerplay opportunity the Giants had in the game.

The Giants stepped up the pressure after that and Colin Shields netted shortly after the midway point of the third period to put them in front for the first time since the opening period.

Dundee — having thrown all they had at the Giants — had nothing left and when Smyth scored his second goal since signing 10 days ago the victory was sealed.

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