Belfast Giants produce sting in the tail
Hull Stingrays 1 Belfast Giants 4: Whatever Belfast Giants coach Doug Christiansen said to his Belfast Giants players during the first break hit home as a triple salvo in the second period ensured that they will stay at the top of the Elite League table for another week.
Trailing 1-0 to the Hull Stingrays after Cale Tanaka’s opener, the Giants raced out of the blocks in the second period, with Andrew Fournier scoring just 27 seconds in.
Will Colbert put the Giants in front before Darryl Lloyd added to the lead and the victory was rounded off by Noah Clarke in the third period.
Christiansen, however, may be left to count the cost of the victory after star forward Greg Stewart left the ice 10 minutes before the end of the game following a fight with Hull’s Jeff Smith.
Face-off was delayed by 20 minutes to allow for repairs to be made to broken plexi glass at the side of the rink and that, plus the early start and journey to Humberside by air and road, seemed to have an impact on the Giants.
It was Hull who took the lead when captain Kurtis Dulle made the play, setting up Sylvain Cloutier to provide the final pass to Tanaka who fired the puck past Giants goaltender Stephen Murphy at 12:28.
Looking for a quick change of momentum Giants captain Adam Keefe took on Hull’s Ryan Hand, with both men spending five minutes in the penalty box after their fight.
Keefe’s actions didn’t have an immediate impact, but combined with Christiansen’s instructions in the locker room the results were seen quite soon.
Colbert and Daymen Rycroft linked up and Fournier was the beneficiary as he struck his third goal of the season.
That gave the Giants a lift and with Hull having Tomas Valecko sent to the penalty box they took advantage of their first powerplay of the game with Stewart and Robby Sandrock setting up Colbert to finish at 28:02.
By now the Giants were rolling and five minutes later it was 3-1 when Keefe’s pass found Lloyd and he got onto the scoresheet for the first time this season.
Keefe and Hand went into combat again, with Cloutier and Lloyd also involved in a mass melee and while Hull were now looking for a momentum swing there was no stopping the Giants.
Even Stewart’s premature exit didn’t blunt the firepower as they made sure of the win at 51:29 as Sandrock and Fournier made the opening and Clarke greatfully accepted the chance to net his second goal of the weekend.
After beating the Nottingham Panthers on penalties on Saturday night the Giants have now notched up five straight wins over the last two weeks and with at least a point taken from each of their eight league games so far they sit a point ahead of the Sheffield Steelers at the top of the standings.