Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Belfast Giants stand tall at league summit

Darryl Lloyd celebrates his goal for the Belfast Giants in Saturday night's win over Coventry Blaze

Dundee Stars 2 Belfast Giants 4: The Belfast Giants showed their power as they claimed a victory over the Dundee Stars that sees them head into Christmas with a seven-point lead at the top of the Elite League table.

They were, however, made to battle for their 4-2 victory at the Dundee Ice Arena.

The first three Giants goals were scored on the powerplay, with Dustin Whitecotton, Jeffrey Szwez and Calvin Elfring all inflicting full punishment as Stars players sat in the box, but a brace from Billy Bagron had Dundee in the league early in the second period.

The win was rounded off though when Chris Higgins scored for the Giants in the third.

After beating Coventry Blaze 5-1 on Saturday, the Giants remain seven points ahead of Braehead Clan, who beat Fife Flyers and Coventry over the weekend.

The Giants were well on top in the first period, outshooting Dundee 16-7, but it wasn't until eight seconds before the first break that they managed to take the lead.

With Dundee player-coach Jeff Hutchins penalised for holding a Giants player's stick Robby Sandrock sent the puck into Whitecotton and he netted his ninth goal of the season.

The Stars were quick off the mark to equalise just 18 seconds after the restart.

Rory Rawlyk and Nico Sacchetti worked to create the opening and Bagron provided the finish.

Dundee then grabbed the lead at 26:46 when Tysen Dowsak supplied the pass from which Bagron scored his second of the night.

That goal was jolt to the Giants and they had to dig deep to get back into the game.

The Stars left themselves vulnerable though when Paul Swindlehurst was sent to the box for tripping and the Giants levelled as Colin Shields and Whitecotton linked up and Szwez was on hand to tap home his 14th goal of the campaign at 35:08.

Dundee's indiscipline coast them again three minutes later when Rawlyk was deemed guilty of a kneeing offence.

His team-mates had gone halfway to killing the penalty, but half a job wasn't enough as Elfring skated forward from his defensive position to fire home from Shield's pass to make it 3-2 to the Giants.

Higgins struck with eight minutes to go to ensure that there would be no late fightback from the Stars.

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