Flailing Belfast Giants blown away by Manchester Storm
Belfast Giants 1-3 Manchester Storm
A storm ripped through Belfast last night. And the place where it did all the damage was at the SSE Arena as the Belfast Giants lost for the third time in the last five league outings - a run that has seen them fall from the top of the Elite League standings to third place.
Manchester Storm tore the form book to shreds by inflicting a 3-1 defeat on the Giants .
Before the game, Storm were sitting second from bottom of the Elite League table with just seven wins from 21 matches.
Their victory in Belfast moved them up a place and to within three points of the top half of the table.
It shouldn't really have been like that though as the Giants scored first and had more than double the amount of shots on goal that Storm could manage.
The difference was in putting their chances away.
Craig Peacock was denied by Manchester goaltender Zane Kalemba just minutes before he did open the scoring at 8:29 after snapping up Kris Beech's rebound to net from the tightest of angles.
James Desmarais missed a good chance to double the lead for the Giants before the sucker punch came at 15:44.
Chris Higgins had been sent to the penalty box for hooking, giving Storm their first powerplay of the game and the Giants were just a second away from killing it when Vinny Scarsella fired the puck into the roof of the net.
The Giants had chances both short handed and on the powerplay before having to defend a five-on-three penalty for over a minute when both Derrick Walser and Matt Nickerson were sent to the penalty box.
Manchester rung the pipework as well as working Giants goaltender Stephen Murphy hard, but couldn't find the go-ahead goal.
They did take the lead in the final minute of the second period, again on a powerplay.
Beech was sitting out when Luke Salazar tapped in at the back door to finish a fine passing move from Storm with just five seconds to go before the second break.
Try as they might, the Giants just couldn't find an equaliser, but they saw their chance when Matt Paton was thrown out of the game with just 50 seconds to go.
Murphy was pulled in favour of the extra skater, giving the Giants six against Manchester's four.
Just 14 seconds after play re-started, it was Storm who scored to win the game with Matthew Davies stealing the puck and sending it into the empty net.
On Saturday, the UMass Lowell Riverkings lifted the Friendship Four Belpot, beating Brown University on penalties.