Video: Belfast Giants on historic high after hitting 11 against Cardiff Devils
Published 13/01/2014 | 09:40
Cardiff Devils 4 Belfast Giants 11: The Belfast Giants produced a history-making performance as they crushed the Cardiff Devils 11-4 in the Welsh capital to maintain their 13 point lead at the top of the Elite League.
There was little sign of what was to come when the Giants led 3-2 at the end of the first period, but they hit seven without reply in a nine-minute spell in the second to leave the Devils stunned.
Chris Higgins turned it up to 11 early in the third period, before Cardiff responded with two late goals in quick succession after the Giants had replaced goaltender Stephen Murphy with back-up Andrew Dickson for the final period.
The 15 goals make it the highest scoring game in the Giants 14-season history, but they fell just short of equalling the team's own record mark of 12 goals, which they racked up against the Edinburgh Capitals two years ago.
And all this after Paul Adey's team had already beaten Cardiff 7-2 at the Odyssey Arena on Saturday night.
The Giants regular routine of catching a plane across the Irish Sea on Sunday mornings meant that a delay to the flight carrying both teams from Belfast to Cardiff affected the Devils more.
This showed as the Giants took the lead within 74 seconds of the drop of the puck.
Jeffrey Szwez drove to the net after an early face-off in the Giants zone, but was impeded by Mark Smith and as he sat a holding penalty Kevin Saurette struck the opening goal on a powerplay.
A second Giants goal was ruled out when the net was adjudged to have been pushed off its moorings, but the scoreline was doubled at 4:29 when Szwez collected Colin Shields' pass to score.
Cardiff responded when Brad Plumton fired a powerful slapshot past Murphy at 6:08, but the Giants added a third when presented with another powerplay opportunity after Mac Faulkner was sent to the penalty box as Saurette scored his second powerplay goal of the game at 10:09.
Ben Davies scored on the powerplay for the Devils to make it 3-2 just over a minute before the end of the first period and at that stage it was anybody's game.
All that changed in the second period, despite Cardiff coming close to equalising shortly after the resumption.
Saurette hit his hat-trick goal at 24:49 and when Szwez scored to make it 5-2 at 27:02 it was the signal for the floodgates to open.
Mark Garside was next to score, benefiting from Cardiff goaltender Phil Cook being impeded by one of his own players to net at 28:18.
After Szwez struck his hat-trick goal at 28:44 the Devils pulled Cook and Craig Peacock put the Giants eighth of the game past back-up Joe Myers at 29:37.
Cardiff were really rocking at this stage and weren't able to offer any kind of response to wave after wave of Giants attack.
They thought that some respite was on the way when Garside took a holding penalty just after the midway point of the second period, but that turned out to be anything but the case.
Referee Tom Darnell called a delayed penalty on Plumton and Adam Keefe too full advantage to score short-handed at 31:45.
Saurette took the scoreline into double figures with his 22nd goal of the season at 33:52 to further knock the stuffing out of the Devils.
Both teams switched goaltenders for the third period, Dickson coming in for Murphy, while Cook returned for Cardiff.
And Cook's first task was to scoop the puck out of the net when Higgins tapped in from Sandrock's assist at 42:16.
The Giants then took the foot off the gas to protect Dickson and although Tomas Kurka and Max Birbraer scored within 40 seconds of each other for Cardiff the points were already very much in the bag.