Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Giants get season up and running

Doug Christiansen declared himself "pretty pleased" as his Belfast Giants team recorded their first win of the season.

And after last Saturday's opening defeat to the Sheffield Steelers left him so angry that the players were brought in on their day off that's definitely progress.

The Giants started strongly and although the Hull Stingrays equalised it was never likely to be a game that would get away from the Belfast boys as they claimed a 5-1 win.

"We were much better and I thought that we controlled the game," said Christiansen.

"We've got to win our home games, especially against the teams who are less talented than ourselves, but whether we'd have been up against Hull, Sheffield, Nottingham or Cardiff tonight we'd have had an opportunity to win the game because of how well we played.

"Things are coming together, I changed the line around and that helped us.

"The line of Brock McBride, Benoit Doucet and Craig Peacock played very well.

"Mark Garside, Darryl Lloyd and Adam Keefe worked very hard too.

"We're still working on getting everyone one the same page.

"It's still early in the season and overall I'm pretty pleased at this stage."

All five Giants goalscorers were registering for the first time. For Brock McBride, Rob Dowd and Jeremy Rebek their goals were also their first in a Giants shirt.

Sent out of the locker room with a demand that the performance be better than Saturday, the Giants came out with a purpose. The early phase of attacking brought the opening goal at 3:31 when Peacock set up McBride he gave Hull goaltender Christian Boucher no chance.

Immediately after taking the lead the Giants were rocked by taking two penalties inside less than 30 seconds. Straight after the goal Peacock was punished for slashing and then Rebek was sent to keep him company - giving Hull a full 92 seconds of a five-on-three powerplay.

The Giants powerplay worked hard to kill almost half of that, but Hull eventually found a way through and Dominic Osman levelled the scores at 5:41.

The much talked about Giants powerplay, which had failed to deliver a goal despite having a handful of opportunities against the Steelers, finally did what the coach, players and fans alike want it to do - well once anyway.

Mason and Tom Dignard moved the puck around and Dowd provided the final touch to put the Giants in front again at 17:32.

The Giants were even quicker out of the blocks in the second period, needing less than two minutes to add to the scoring. McBride did the spadework, laying the puck off to Peacock to simply keep a cool head and send it beyond the reach of the goaltender.

Jeff Mason's unassisted goal at 34:11 had his usual stamp of class all over it as he beat Boucher all ends up to leave Hull facing a long road back to get into the game.

That route turned into an uphill one when Rebek skated clear and rifled the puck into the top corner for the Giants fifth at 42: 32.

That goal sparked Hull back into life and just over a minute later Jereme Tendler sent the puck flying across Stephen Murphy and over his shoulder to reduce the arrears.

There was a real threat of a sting in the tail when Josh Mizerek pulled out a one-timer to make it 5-3.

There was a real need for the Giants to put the foot back on the pedal, but McBride and Nick Kuiper both spurned decent opportunities, the kind that you would like to think would be snapped up if the game had been any tighter.

Belfast Telegraph

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