Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 April 2014

Giants rally to smother the Blaze

Coventry Blaze 4 Belfast Giants 7

Comeback king: Craig Peacock celebrates scoring on his return to the Belfast Giants in Saturday's 4-2 win over the Sheffield Steelers

Paul Adey hailed the character in his Belfast Giants as they fought back not once, but three times, before hitting a magnificent seven against Coventry Blaze.

The Giants trailed 2-0 with only three-and-a-half minutes gone and then found themselves 3-1 down shortly after the midway point of the game.

After the Giants levelled the scores Blaze led 4-3 with only 14 minutes to go, but that's when the comeback started.

And once the Giants got on a roll there was just no stopping them.

Robby Sandrock, Jeff Mason, Kevin Saurette and Jeffrey Szwez all scored in the final period to make it a perfect weekend for the team after Saturday night's 4-2 win over the Sheffield Steelers in former Giants coach Doug Christiansen's return to the Odyssey.

"We made a really slow start to the game, but the guys never quit," said Adey.

"It was tough going 2-0 down so early, then trying to come back and going down again and come back from that, but once we tied the game it made a big difference and I felt that if we could get the go-ahead goal we would win the game.

"We were down for most of the game, so it was really good to see that the guys didn't quit.

"If we are going to achieve our goals this season then we're going to need that character in the team.

"It was a very good performance and we had six guys score goals and a lot of other contribute."

A penalty was called against Giants goaltender Stephen Murphy after only 32 seconds and Kevin Harvey duly gave them the lead on the resulting powerplay.

Adam Henrich doubled the advantage for Blaze at 3:23 and the Giant were already rocking.

Adey called his time-out at that stage so that he could rally his players after those two early setbacks.

They began to steady the ship when Craig Peacock followed up his goal against Sheffield in his first game since returning to Belfast from a short spell in Denmark with a fine finish at 6:20, but despite creating a number of chances the Giants couldn't find an equaliser.

Coventry edged further in front when Harvey scored his second of the night at 31:35, but the deficit was cut within 61 seconds when Cody Brockwell netted his first Giants goal to make it 3-2.

Szwez equalised at 33:24 as the Giants began to dominate – at least in terms of scoring chances.

It was Coventry who scored next though. Russell Cowley set up Ross Venus to score at 44:41 to put them 4-3 up.

The response from the Giants, however, was mightily impressive.

Peacock and Saurette linked up and provided Sandrock with the pass from which he levelled matters at 46:19, but there was still a lot of work to be done.

The same two players created the goal that put the Giants in front for the first time at 49:35, which was finished by Mason.

The game wasn't taken out of Coventry's reach until the final moments.

Peacock was again involved, this time providing the assist for Saurette at the Giants scored their sixth at 58:17 and when Coventry pulled goaltender Mike Zacharias in the final minute Dustin Whitecotton snatched the puck and gave it to Szwez, who knocked in number seven with just 23 seconds to go.

"I am really pleased. We have now been to Cardiff twice and Coventry once – two small rinks that are tough to get points out of – and won all three games," said Adey.

"I was really impressed with Craig Peacock. I hadn't seen a lot of him before and I have a player who is better than I thought."