Coach Walser happy with his gameplan as Giants slay Storm
Belfast Giants 5 Manchester Storm 2
Derrick Walser declared ‘job done’ after the Belfast Giants comfortable and comprehensive victory over Manchester Storm.
The Giants player-coach asked his players to get a grip on the game early on and they did exactly that before easing to a 5-2 win.
After the Cardiff Devils also beat Storm on Friday night their lead at the top of the Elite League table remains at seven points, with both teams having four games remaining before they meet in a double-header on the final weekend of the season.
“We are trying to get our game back on track here,” said Walser.
“We worked on a lot of things, we did a lot of good things and the one thing we wanted to do was jump on them quick and try to discourage them from engaging and I thought we did a real good job in doing that.”
Mike Forney got things started with a powerplay goal on five minutes and when Blair Riley doubled the lead one minute and 46 seconds later the Giants were already well in control.
Colin Shields’ first goal of the game five minutes before the end of the first period should have been the catalyst for a goal fest.
It didn’t quite work out that way though.
Storm responded through Trevor Johnston on a powerplay three minute later and having done the job in the first 15 minutes the Giants were able to take the foot off the pedal, particularly after Riley’s second four minutes into the second period.
Adam Harding did give Storm some hope when he made it 4-2 with five minutes to go and they even pulled goaltender Mike Clemente in the final minute, but the comeback hopes were killed off by Shield’s empty-net strike 37 seconds from the end.
“Mike Forney got that powerplay goal right off the bat and we didn’t really look back,” said two-goal Riley.
“I thought we were in control for the most part throughout the 60 minutes.
“We sat back a little bit towards the end of the first period, but we came out in the second period and did a real good job of controlling the play and making good puck decisions, so we’re happy with the effort for sure.”