Giants strike back to eclipse Stars
Belfast Giants 5 - Dundee Stars 2
The Belfast Giants got back to winning ways last night when they defeated the Dundee Stars 5-2 at the SSE Arena to get their Elite League title ambitions back on track.
The Giants are now firmly back in contention, having made up some of the ground they lost when slipping to an unexpected 4-1 defeat against Braehead Clan at the same venue 24 hours earlier.
Jeff Mason was the import to miss out on the action last night as player-coach Derrick Walser brought back Darryl Lloyd, who sat out Tuesday night's game.
The hosts showed much more urgency than in the previous night's lethargic performance and Mike Wilson, Kris Beech and Mitch Ganzak all had shots saved by Stars keeper Vlastimil Lakosil in the opening five minutes.
Matt Nickerson was sent to the penalty box in the 12th minute for interference and Giants netminder Stephen Murphy made a fine double-save from Lou Dickenson while Dundee were on the powerplay.
Then it was the turn of the Giants to have the man-advantage after Craig Moore was penalised for hooking but his team took the lead short-handed as Dickenson scored in the 16th minute after being set up by Jason Gray.
But the Giants responded 29 seconds later on the powerplay as James Desmarais' pass found Mike Radja, who fired in.
The second period followed a similar pattern with the Giants on top but finding Lakosil in superb form between the pipes.
Ganzak had a shot saved and, at the other end, Murphy pulled off an excellent double-block from David Turon as the Stars continued to rely on breakouts.
But the Giants capitalised on a powerplay after Justin Faryna was binned for slashing as Desmarais scrambled the puck home in the 28th minute to make it 2-1.
The Giants beat Lakosil for the third time as a superb piece of play from Chris Higgins allowed the on-rushing Mike Forney to net.
In the final period, Walser put the issue beyond doubt when he made it 4-1 with just over nine minutes left, firing home from the point after Forney had found him unmarked.
The Stars pulled a goal back six minutes later when Curtis Leinweber slotted home but, soon after, Radja got his second of the night when he found the empty net after Beech's initial shot had been saved as the Giants wrapped up an impressive display.
The Giants now face a double-header with Coventry Blaze at the weekend, starting with Saturday night's encounter at the SSE Arena before they travel to the Sky Dome for the return fixture the following evening.