Belfast Telegraph

‘Vicious hit’ on Kevin Phillips mars Belfast Giants Challenge Cup win over Edinburgh Caps

By Stuart McKinley

Belfast Giants coach Steve Thornton will request a disciplinary review after defenceman Kevin Phillips was the victim of what he described as a ‘vicious hit to the head’ during last night’s 2-1 Challenge Cup win over the Edinburgh Capitals.

Phillips left the action after just over a minute, leaving the Giants with just 12 skaters, with Cody Brookwell ruled out after he was injured during Saturday night’s shoot-out loss to Braehead Clan while Mark McCutcheon and Jeff Mason didn’t travel for the weekend triple-header.

It didn’t stop the team from securing their second success in three nights, with Kevin Saurrette, in his 100th game for the Belfast Giants, netting both if the Giants goals.

Phillips wasn’t the only Giants player to be on the receiving end as Edinburgh put in another couple of late hits in the early exchanges.

Colin Shields reacted angrily to one, resulting in a two-minute penalty for slashing and then Phillips brother David was bundled to the ice after the puck had gone.

Thornton was happy to escape with two Challenge Cup points, to go on top of the single point from Saturday and Friday night’s Elite League win in Dundee, as well as no further injuries.

“One hundred per cent I would have taken that before the weekend, especially when we were relatively short rostered” said Thornton.

“With three games in three nights and every game being the home opener for our opponents it was tough, but it turned out to be a really good weekend.

“Kevin Phillips had to come off after a vicious hit to the head and I will be asking for the video to be looked at.”

The Giants stood up to the heavy hitting and took the lead at 12:11 when Evan Cheverie and Adam Keefe linked up and Saurette stepped up to provide the finish.

Saurette almost made it 2-0 soon after, but he only managed to slam the puck against Capitals goaltender Tomas Hiadlovsky’s face mask.

He did get a second goal seven minutes into the second period after Shields and Ray Sawada had set up the chance, with Saurette sweeping the loose puck into the net.

Dennis Rix pulled one back for Edinburgh five minutes later and then Giants goaltender Stephen Murphy had to stand up to an onslaught.

But the Giants were solid in defence though and that meant not scoring again didn’t matter as they took the win.

“I’m very happy with how we’ve started, but we have some areas for improvement,” added Thornton.

Belfast Telegraph

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