Belfast Giants' dismay as the Fife Flyers hit six of the best at the Odyssey
The Belfast Giants were hit for six last night as the Fife Flyers pulled off the shock of the season so far to beat the Elite League leaders at the Odyssey Arena.
Giants coach Steve Thornton had warned before the top v bottom clash that Fife would pose a threat to his team's 100 per cent home start to their league title defence – and he was right to expect a tough battle as the Flyers claimed their first victory of the campaign.
It had all started so well for the Giants too, with Evan Cheverie and Mike Kompon both going close before Mark Garside opened the scoring with just less than five minutes on the clock.
Jeff Mason fired the puck across goal and Garside was on hand to tap in his second goal of the weekend, after also scoring in Saturday's 4-2 win over Coventry Blaze.
That, however, was as good as it got for the Giants as they ran into penalty trouble and shipped four powerplay goals – two of them in the first period.
Ray Sawada was punished for a tripping offence at 7:36 and the Giants were less than 30 seconds away from successfully killing the penalty, but Ned Lukacevic and Chris Auger combined to create the chance from which Stephen Gunn equalised.
Auger himself put the Flyers into the lead at 12:24 when he collected the puck after Thomas Muir and Matt Nickerson linked up and he skated through the Giants defence before unleashing a shot past Stephen Murphy.
Again the Giants penalty kill was close to doing their job after Cheverie was sent to the box for hooking, but Fife managed to pile on the punishment when Jordan Fulton forced the puck over the line after a scramble.
Fife kept their foot on the pedal by scoring two more goals in the first half of the second period.
Auger scored again at 26:49, after being set up thanks to good work by Bobby Chaumont and Jamie Milam.
Even Adam Keefe's attempts to get the crowd going didn't have an impact on the game as seconds later Robby Sandrock committed a slashing offence and Kyle Haines put Fife 5-1 up on the resulting powerplay at 29:53.
Fife made it six of the best with another powerplay goal at 46:48.
The Giants had been penalised for having too many men on the ice at a shift change and yet again, with just two seconds of the penalty to go, Gunn finished what he started by netting the final goal of the game.