Giants crash Flyers to earth as big title crunch looms
Belfast Giants 4 Fife Flyers 0
Stephen Murphy notched up another shut-out to add to his record tally for the Belfast Giants as they whitewashed the Fife Flyers 4-0 at the SSE Arena. First period goals from Blair Riley and Colin Shields - both on powerplays - got the ball rolling as while Murphy repelled everything that the Flyers could throw at him. Brandon Benedict - shorthanded - and Ryan Martinelli scored in the third period to complete a comfortable win.
The two points moves the Giants eight points behind leaders the Cardiff Devils, who come to Belfast for a huge game this evening.
Derrick Walser will send his team out with their confidence high after they also scored four times in beating the Nottingham Panthers last weekend.
Fife had just killed off 50 seconds of a five-on-three when the Giants grabbed the early lead.
They had Ryan Dingle still serving the remainder of a hooking penalty when Jim Vandermeer cracked a shot from the blue line and Riley got the end of his stick onto the puck to deflect it past Fife's Shane Owen.
The Giants were hugely dominant in the first period and if anything it was a surprise that it took them almost 12 minutes to double the lead.
This time Fife had Russ Moyer sitting in the box after a tripping offence when Riley and Steve Saviano worked the puck to Shields and he pulled out a rip-roaring slapshot that flew into the net.
The second period saw both goaltenders show their class, with the Giants in particular having a lot of pressure in the Fife zone.
They did finally get a third goal four minutes into the third period, but against the odds.
Giants captain Adam Keefe was in the box when Matt Nickerson won the puck in his own zone and fed Saviano, who in turn pushed it on for Benedict to break through and net short handed.
The Giants continued to pile on the agony and on 48:29 when got the fourth goal. This time it was the forwards who created the opportunity for the defence to finish as Saviano added to his growing tally of assists by linking with Mike Forney before Ryan Martinelli provided the finish.
The game ended in rather ugly and controversial circumstances.
Keefe took exception to a hit from Fife's Moyer six minutes from the final hooter, with the pair involved in an altercation.
The end result saw both men thrown out of the game, but it is unlikely that Keefe will face any further punishment.