Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Giants hit for six by Elite League newcomers as opening night joy is dimmed

Milton Keynes Lightning 6 Belfast Giants 3

By Stuart McKinley

The Belfast Giants witnessed history in their first away Elite League game of the season - but not the kind they would have wanted.

League newcomers Milton Keynes Lightning hit the Giants for six to win 6-3 and record their maiden victory since stepping up to the top flight.

The Giants trailed 2-0 after only six minutes and then 4-1 five minutes into the second period and late goals in each of the first two periods and three in total in the second session weren't enough for them to get anything out of the game.

On Saturday night it had been the Giants who scored half a dozen goals in a 6-4 win over the Guildford Flames, but they couldn't make it a weekend double.

Milton Keynes lived up to their name by making a lightning fast start to the game.

They grabbed the lead with just 2:05 on the clock when Kevin Gibson fired home, albeit in controversial circumstances. Giants players protested that there had been a high-sticking offence in the play, but referee Stephen Hogarth waved away protests.

It was 2-0 just over four minutes later when Lightning pounced on a powerplay after Jim Vandermeer was sent to the penalty box.

Ben Foster and Carl Hudson created the chance and Kevin King sent a first time shot flying into the net.

The Giants rallied and with time running out in the first period they pulled a goal back when Jonathan Freland and John Kurtz set up Sebastien Sylvestre and he finished into the bottom corner of the net at 19:05.

Lightning moved to fend off any Giants hopes of a comeback when they restored their two-goal advantage just over a minute into the second period. Guillaume Doucet did the damage when he pounced on a loose puck and fired home.

The home side took a firm grip on the game when they extended their lead at 24:34. Chris Isackson, King and Lewis Hook broke away three-on-one, with Hook providing the finish.

The Giants responded on a powerplay at 31:09 when Ludwig Karlsson was in the penalty box. Steve Saviano fed Spiro Goulakos and his shot was deflected into the net by Colin Shields.

Lightning just couldn't be reeled in though and they went 5-2 ahead at 34:45 when Hook finished again.

The Goualkos-Saviano-Shields combination did bring about a third Giants goal seven seconds before the end of the second period, with Saviano getting the finishing touch, but that's as good as it got for the Belfast men.

Try as they might in the third period they weren't able to cut the lead any further and with just less than three minutes left Lightning made sure of the win when Doucet rattled home his second of the game to complete a 6-3 win.

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