Braehead's blitz brings end to Belfast Giants' hot streak
Braehead Clan 5 - Belfast Giants 2
A crazy two and a half minutes brought an abrupt end to the Belfast Giants' five-match winning run as they lost to Elite League title rivals Braehead Clan in Glasgow.
With the score still deadlocked at 0-0 midway through the game, Braehead hit three goals in quick succession to rock the Giants - who had Curtis Huppe in the line-up, over seven years after his last appearance for the team - and they never looked back.
Even two powerplay goals from Mike Kompon weren't enough to do anything other than give the scoreline a more respectable look, as the Clan hit two more themselves in the third period to even things up after the Giants had won 6-1 in the first part of the post-Christmas double-header at the Odyssey Arena on Saturday night.
Braehead are now just a point behind the Sheffield Steelers at the top of the table, with the Giants a further four points adrift as the title race hits its halfway point.
It could all have been so different for the Giants as following a minute's silence in memory of those who died in the bin lorry crash in Glasgow last week, they had started the game so well. Indeed, both Craig Peacock and Evan Cheverie beat Clan goaltender Kyle Jones with shots in the first period, only to see the puck rattle off the pipework each time.
Braehead did the same at the other end before they were more successful in finding the target when opening the scoring at 30:09.
Giants captain Adam Keefe had been punished for a slashing offence, putting Braehead on a powerplay and they took full advantage as Lee Esders beat Carsen Chubak at the second attempt.
It was 2-0 within 25 seconds as the Clan really got to work on a stunned Giants defence.
An attempted clearance didn't get out of the defensive zone and when Tristan Harper was picked out by Ben Davies he sent his shot high past Chubak's outstretched hand.
There was more to come just two minutes later as Braehead stretched their lead. Matt Keith collected the puck on a breakaway and netted the third at 32:38.
The Giants responded when Zack Fitzgerald was sent to the box and Kompon netted on a powerplay at 35:13, but despite firing plenty of rubber at Jones they couldn't close the gap and when Stefan Meyers made it 4-2 six minutes into the third period, that was it really as far as the game being a contest was concerned.
Chubak was pulled with a full three minutes left on the clock and the numerical advantage grew when the Giants ended up on a powerplay.
Kompon cut the deficit with his second goal of the game just 58 seconds from the end, but there was still far too much work to do in such a short time if the Giants were to take the game into overtime.
Any small hopes the Giants may have had of a comeback were finished off when Meyers made it 5-2 with an empty-net goal with 37 seconds to go.