Belfast Telegraph

Capital gains as the Belfast Giants stride out in front

Belfast Giants 6-3 Edinburgh Caps 3

By Stuart McKinley

A five-goal blitz in the first period saw the Belfast Giants crush the Edinburgh Capitals and stretch their lead at the top of the Elite League table to three points ahead of a busy weekend.

Colin Shields, Mike Radja James Desmarais, Mike Forney and Matt Nickerson all scored in a thrilling opening period for the Giants and although Edinburgh hit back with a goal in each third, the damage had already been done.

Mike Wilson's late effort for the Giants only served to ensure that there was no fightback from the Caps, who failed to get out of the blocks for 19 minutes.

In contrast, the Giants came out flying and were ahead with just 1:42 on the clock. Desmarais won the face-off and the puck went straight to Shields, who despatched it into the net.

Former Giants goaltender Carsen Chubak was pulling out all the stops in a busy opening period as both Forney and Shields were denied, but he was beaten for a second time at 11:31 when Radja skated through one-on-one to finish after being set up by Kris Beech.

The Giants then went on the powerplay and just 19 seconds in they made it 3-0, with Desmarais this time scoring himself at 13:39.

Desmarais then turned provider again, this time digging the puck out and sending a great pass to Beech, who in turn found Forney as he notched the fourth goal - again on a powerplay - at 16:18.

Edinburgh were all over the place at this stage and it was no surprise when the Giants added a fifth goal through Nickerson two minutes before the end of the first period.

The Capitals did hit back before the hooter though, with David Rutherford scoring from Trevor Gerling's assist with 35 seconds remaining.

The Giants had more shots in the second period than the first, but they couldn't extend their lead.

Instead it was Edinburgh who scored, with Rutherford returning the favour as Gerling made it 5-2 at 22:23.

Indeed, they thought they had scored again just before the end of the second period, but Ryan Hayes was adjudged to have put the puck into the net with his hand.

Rutherford scored again with five minutes to go, but any faint hopes of a comeback were quickly killed off when Wilson's deflected shot restored the three-goal advantage at 57:30.      

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