Belfast Telegraph

Attack goes AWOL as Giants lose back-to-back on the road

 

Stuck in: Belfast Giants ace Brian Ward in action
Stuck in: Belfast Giants ace Brian Ward in action

By Adam MckKendry

Head coach Adam Keefe was left lamenting his side's anemic attack as for the second night in a row the Belfast Giants couldn't get anything to spark in front of the net and they paid once more.

After managing only the one goal in Saturday's 4-1 defeat to the Nottingham Panthers, the Giants fared even worse in being shut-out by a 25-save performance from netminder Kevin Carr in a 2-0 loss at the Motorpoint Arena yesterday afternoon.

In the end, it was Mark Matheson's blue-line strike in the second period that decided it, the Nottingham defenceman firing past Giants backstop Shane Owen for the game-winner.

Sam Herr added an empty-netter with 30 seconds remaining to put the seal on the victory, with the Belfast forwards unable to back up a sublime netminding performance from Owen, who made 18 saves at the other end.

With the back-to-back losses, the Giants drop to 8-3-2 in the Elite League and have fallen out of a tie for top spot in the table.

While the defence was much improved from the previous night, the attack was short on creativity, with just one goal scored on a 5-on-3 powerplay - which was actually a 6-on-3 with Owen pulled for an extra skater at the time - across the two games as bad as it sounds.

"In a game of bounces, they get one seeing eye shot that goes in the net and we can't find a goal. Offensive woes, I suppose," said Keefe. "It was a good, tight game. We needed someone to squeak one in and we didn't, and that was the game.

"I thought we deserved more but we couldn't find the back of the net. In a game like that you'd better find the back of the net if you want to win games.

"I can't fault the effort but you need to find someone to get you on the board. We have to move forward. Tough weekend."

The Giants had at least come out fighting - literally - yesterday as a reaction to Saturday's loss as captain Matt Pelech dropped the gloves with Panthers enforcer Gui Lepine, before Bobby Farnham went blow for blow with Joshua Tetlow behind the Nottingham net.

But after a scoreless first, it was the Panthers who went ahead at 10:28 of the second when Matheson fired from the blue-line that went through traffic and found the twine.

Try as they might, the Giants couldn't find that tying goal that would send it to overtime, with Jordan Smotherman sure he had a leveller in the final minute when a rebound dropped right to his stick in his left circle, only for defenceman Adam Deutsch to make an incredible diving block.

That allowed Herr to round things off with the empty-netter at 19:30 of the final period for 2-0, condemning the Giants to back-to-back defeats.

Keefe's side are back in action when they welcome the Dundee Stars to the SSE Arena on Saturday for their only home game of the month.

• THE Belfast Giants SNL side lost 6-0 to the Aberdeen Lynx on Saturday night to fall to 0-2-0 on the season.

Nottingham Panthers2

Belfast Giants0

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