Belfast Giants draw Hull’s sting and ease to crucial win
Belfast Giants 6 Hull Stingrays 3: Bring on the Sheffield Steelers.
The Belfast Giants took care of business in their game in hand last night by beating the Hull Stingrays 6-3 at the Odyssey Arena and now they will face-off in two massive battles against Sheffield with the Elite League title to play for.
And the first of those, in Belfast tomorrow night, is set-up to be thriller.
The Steelers are three points ahead at the top of the table with six games to go.
While they hold the upperhand, whoever takes victory in the first game will carry a huge psychological advantage going into the rematch in Yorkshire next Wednesday.
“We were professional, we got the win and the two points that we wanted,” said Giants coach Doug Christiansen.
“Now we get ready for a massive game on Saturday night and we're focused on that one because we need to win that one to make Wednesday important.”
In order for tomorrow's game to take on the magnitude that it now has the Giants needed to win last night — and they did just that with plenty to spare as it took just 10 minutes to secure the points.
The game plan for the Giants at the Odyssey is always to start strongly. The theory is that their opponents will have had an early start in order to get to Belfast and might take a while to get going.
Last night, however, it was Hull who made a flying start, Lee Mitchell scoring as early as the third minute.
That was as good as it got for the Stingrays though as the Giants then ripped them apart.
This is the same Hull team whose victory over Sheffield last Saturday night ensured that the Giants have their destiny in their own hands.
Thirty seconds after falling behind the Giants levelled.
Craig Peacock kept up his recent rich vein in front of goal by firing home after he was set-up by Dan Welch. Michael Jacobsen's powerplay goal just before the five minute mark put the Giants in front and once they took the game by the scruff of the neck they refused to relinquish their grip.
Josh Prudden netted another powerplay goal after eight minutes and just over two minutes later Jeff Mason made it 4-1.
There were still more goals to come in the first period, with Kurtis Dulle pulling one back for Hull.
Six seconds before the first break Brandon Benedict netted the Giants’ fifth and only a monumental collapse was going to stop the Giants from closing the gap on Sheffield.
It wasn't that the Giants eased off after that. They'd done what they needed to do and Colin Hemingway's goal just after the midway point kept the pressure off.
Jason Silverthorn's goal near the end was merely a consolation for Hull.