Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Sandrock stars as Belfast Giants enjoy epic victory

Belfast Giants 2 Dundee Stars 1: Robby Sandrock turned the clock back nine years as he fired home two stunning goals as the Belfast Giants completed a comeback victory over the Dundee Stars in their first home game of the season.

The ‘Sandrock slapshot' was one of the trademarks of the Giants 2002-03 Play-off winning season, with the defenceman regularly cracking home powerful shots from the blueline.

Now back in Belfast after playing in Germany and Austria, Sandrock showed that, if anything, his shooting is even better now as he treated the Odyssey crowd to a double.

His first period goal brought the Giants level after AJ MacLean had given Dundee the lead and as the visitors continued to frustrate the Elite League champions late into the game Sandrock pulled out another screamer with 10 minutes to go to win the game.

“I am starting to realise why everyone said so many good things about Robby Sandrock,” said Giants coach Doug Christiansen.

“He is an impact player, there is no doubt about that. He played extremely well at both ends of the ice and after the game he was the first back in the room doing push-ups.

“There is a reason why he's been so successful and it's because of his leadership and workrate.”

Prior to face-off the Giants joined with their sporting brothers at Ulster Rugby by honouring the memory of Nevin Spence, who along with his father and brother died in a tragic farming accident last weekend, by observing a minute's silence.

And the home crowd was then stunned into silence when Dundee snatched the lead at 8:36 in rather controversial circumstances. AJ MacLean's shot looked like it had been clawed back before the puck had crossed the line, but the goal judge's light went on and the referee awarded the goal.

The Giants trailed for less than three minutes before Sandrock got his first of the night with a powerplay goal at 11:12. He skated onto Scott Champagne's pass before sending the puck past Nic Riopel in the Dundee goal.

Dundee's defensive tactics were working pretty much to the letter. Other than a shot from Noah Clarke that hit the net a split second after the referee had blown his whistle, the Giants weren't creating the kind of clear cut opportunities that the likes of Champagne, Greg Stewart and Daymen Rycroft would thrive on.

The Giants needed something to provide a spark and they got it thanks to Adam Keefe.

The captain was the clear winner of his fight with Greg Moore, that lifted the crowd and they were boosted again within seconds as a powerplay was awarded to the Giants.

That was just the invitation coach Doug Christiansen needed to send Sandrock out onto the ice again and he repeated his earlier feat with a rip-roaring shot from the blueline that Riopel probably didn't even see.

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