Belfast Giants fall further behind in title race with second loss in Cardiff
Cardiff Devils 5-2 Belfast Giants
The Belfast Giants lost further ground in the Elite League title race as they dropped both games of their doubleheader with the Cardiff Devils, going down 5-2 to their title rivals at the Viola Arena in Sunday's second game.
Having lost 4-2 the night before, the Giants are now nine points adrift of their title rivals at the top of the Elite League - albeit with a game in hand - and face an uphill battle to claw it back.
The losing of the game came at the end of a horrid first period when the Giants conceded three goals in the space of a minute and 11 seconds to leave them with too much to do to rescue a result.
Ironically, it was the visitors who were doing all the early pressing, with Dustin Johner and Kyle Baun going closest with the first few forays.
But for all their good work to start the game, the Giants fell apart defensively and three goals in quick succession effectively ended the game before the first intermission.
Mark Richardson, on his 800th Elite League appearance, grabbed the first at 12:50 when he was set up at the backdoor by Mike Hedden, before Matt Pope made it two nine seconds later straight off the face-off.
And the first period rout was completed at 14:01, the rebound from Drew Schiestel's shot from the blueline stabbed in by the lurking Bryce Reddick.
Tyler Beskorowany made a great stop from Joey Martin to start the second, a goal which would have definitely killed the game off, before the visitors began to mount their comeback.
Both of their goals came on the powerplay, the first at 22:49, Patrick Dwyer gaining the zone and dumping the puck off to Baun in the right circle and he finished high past Ben Bowns.
And the second came at 25:16, Dwyer turning from creator to scorer as he sent the puck to the crease and it deflected in off the skate of defenceman Reddick.
Beskorowany had to stand up big again for Belfast as Richardson's shot was tipped on goal by Charles Linglet, while at the other end Josh Roach and Lewis Hook both had shots denied by Bowns.
But the hosts were the ones to strike first in the third period and it was a key goal, Evan Mosey going on the breakaway and beating Beskorowany five-hole at 42:03.
Joey Martin should have made sure of the win when Roach's giveaway put him in on Beskorowany but the netminder made the stop, while Dustin Johner fired over in a one-on-one with Bowns.
When the Devils went on the powerplay as Kyle Baun was called for a trip, they killed the game off. Schiestel hit the post before Martin was found out in front by Sean Bentivoglio and he finished at 52:46.
One final chance fell to the Giants late as Jonathan Boxill tipped a Kendall McFaull shot over the top of the cage, but it was the Devils' day.
Man of the Match: #17 Mark Richardson (Cardiff Devils)
Belfast Telegraph Digital