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Newcastle Vipers 0 Belfast Giants 8

Stephen Murphy followed up his man of the match display against the Cardiff Devils on Saturday with a shut-out against the Newcastle Vipers last night
Stephen Murphy followed up his man of the match display against the Cardiff Devils on Saturday with a shut-out against the Newcastle Vipers last night

It was great to be eight as the Belfast Giants simply blew away the challenge of the Newcastle Vipers last night.

In their biggest victory of the season Steve Thornton's side went for the throat right from the start and once they grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck they refused to let go.

And after a man-of-the-match performance on his return to the side in Saturday night's 3-1 win over the Cardiff Devils, Stephen Murphy recorded a third shut-out of an impressive first season in Belfast.

Another British player who is shining in his debut season in a Giants shirt is Craig Peacock and it was the 21-year-old Englishman who began the rout in Newcastle when he opened the scoring midway through the first period.

After a sustained period of pressure from the Giants, Pat Bateman and Evan Cheverie made the play for Peacock to net the puck.

The Giants were completely on top and seconds before the end of the first period — and after Colin Shields and Jeff Szwez had both gone close — Brandon Benedict doubled the advantage from Shields assist.

Two quick fire goals early in the second period saw the Giants crank up the heat and after that the outcome was inevitable.

Shields had the initial shot which lead to the third goal, but the puck somehow managed to stay out and Szwez was there to finish off before Tom Walsh set up Peacock to net the fourth.

Sean McMorrow, who got his wish of a fight with Cardiff's Brad Voth on Saturday night, was cut by Mike Berry's high stick, but took steps to level the scores with the Zamboni needed to resurface the ice from McMorrow's blood.

A pulsating period wasn't finished there.

Michel Robinson in the Newcastle Vipers goal lost his footing and allowed Shields to make it a handful for the Giants and a couple of minutes before the punch-drunk home side could have a well deserved rest Michael Jacobsen made it 6-0.

McMorrow's actions against Berry meant that a lengthy Vipers powerplay straddled the second and third periods, but the Giants killed that off superbly.

Szwez showed great skill to take the puck in on goal and fire past Robinson — who had no respite all night — as the Giants entered seventh heaven.

There was still more to come though as Szwez struck the eighth to record a hat-trick on the night and make it five goals for the weekend.

It is four points from the weekend too as the Giants moved on to 22 points.

Coventry Blaze's win over Hull put them on 24 while leaders Nottingham were on 24 before they took to the ice against Cardiff last night, which was delayed until 9pm.

Belfast Telegraph

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