Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Giants draw little comfort and pay the penalty

Dundee Stars (won 1-0 on pens) 4 Belfast Giants 4

By Stuart McKinley

A storming comeback saw the Belfast Giants cut the Cardiff Devils lead at the top of the Elite League table to three points.

Derrick Walser's men, however, missed the chance to eat further into the Devils' advantage when they lost to the Dundee Stars on penalties after a dramatic 4-4 draw.

Trailing 4-1 with a minute to go in the second period, the Giants rescued a point from a seemingly impossible situation.

Dundee were 2-0 up with just 7:19 on the clock. Cale Tanaka set up Mikael Lidhammar for the first at 3:21 and five minutes later Vinny Scarsella created the chance from which Kevin Hart sent in a shot and Kevin Bruijsten tipped in for the second.

The Giants rallied and pulled a goal back a couple of minutes before the end of the first period.

Jeff Mason stepped forward and sent the puck in to Mike Forney, who in turn set up another defenceman, Jim Vandermeer, to score at 18:11.

Just when it looked like the Giants would only be a single goal behind going into the first break Scarsella provided the pass for Bruijsten to make it 3-1.

Scarsella almost struck a fourth when sent one-on-one with Giants goaltender Stephen Murphy before the Stars were awarded a penalty shot when he was brought down on another attack soon after. The man from New York state stepped up himself and beat Murphy.

The comeback was sparked by Walser in unlikely fashion. Matt Nickerson was sitting out a slashing penalty when the Giants overturned the numerical disadvantage as Riley sent Walser through to score at 39:05.

It was the same scenario that led to the Giants cutting the lead to 4-3 just over a minute into the third period. This time Nickerson was sent to the box for hooking and Forney sent Riley clear on a short-handed breakaway and he beat Joe Fallon.

It was game on, but it took the Giants until just over two minutes from the end of regulation time to level. Chris Higgins, who scored the overtime winner in Cardiff on Saturday night, was the provider this time as Riley scored his second of the game.

Overtime was tame in comparison, with only three shots recorded in the five minutes.

That meant penalties and after David Rutherford has missed the Giants first Lidhammar scored to put Dundee in the driving seat.

Higgins then missed for the Giants, as did Felix Antoine Poulin for the Stars and when Riley failed to net with the Giants fifth the Stars took the extra point.

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