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Belfast Giants hold off late Guildford Flames comeback for fourth straight win

Belfast Giants 3-2 Guildford Flames

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Belfast Giants' Curtis Leonard (centre) celebrates scoring

Belfast Giants' Curtis Leonard (centre) celebrates scoring

©William Cherry / Presseye

Belfast Giants' Curtis Leonard (centre) celebrates scoring

A LATE Guildford comeback wasn't enough to stop the Belfast Giants from taking their fourth game in a row with a 3-2 win at the SSE Arena in their midweek Elite League clash.

After goals from Curtis Leonard, Patrick Dwyer and Jonathan Ferland, Guildford threatened to make it interesting when Jamie Crooks scored with just over six minutes to go, but ultimately Adam Keefe's men held on for another two points.

Once again it was Tyler Beskorowany between the pipes for the Giants, while the Flames opted for Elite League veteran Travis Fullerton over usual starter Chris Carrozzi as their netminder.

The early chances went to Belfast as both Francis Beauvillier and Dustin Johner hit the pipes early, but at the other end Guildford were looking dangerous too as Jamie Crooks forced Beskorowany into an important pad save.

But it was Belfast who took the lead at 11:37 when defenseman Curtis Leonard picked up the puck at the blueline and rapped a slapshot that beat Fullerton five hole.

It looked like the hosts would hold that lead going into the first intermission, especially when Beskorowany saw a Kruise Reddick slapshot ricochet off his helmet, but the Guildford man got his revenge at 18:28 when he turned the puck over in the Giants' zone and posted a shorthanded marker.

After the intermission, Patrick Dwyer came closest to grabbing the next goal when he nearly jammed home a rebound at the crease, while Beskorowany again came to Belfast's rescue when denying Jesse Craige's slapshot and Evan Janssen after a neutral ice turnover.

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The Giants would lead at the second intermission, however, and it was in fortunate circumstances. That man Dwyer took possession of the puck behind the net and his centering pass was deflecting into his own net by the unfortunate Fullerton at 36:54.

Immediately at the start of the third period it became three, some great work down the boards by Francis Beauvillier allowing Blair Riley to center it for Jonathan Ferland to tap in at the crease at 41:09.

Both netminders then made key stops, Beskorowany first in keeping his pads against the ice to deflect away a Lundin wrister when the puck broke to him in the slot, before Fullerton produced an excellent stick poke to blank Hunter Bishop as he charged the net.

Bishop and Josh Roach both tested Fullerton on the powerplay, but it would be on the Flames' next powerplay that they reduced the gap back to one, a goalmouth scramble in front of Beskorowany's goal was eventually poked home by Crooks at 53:13.

But, despite the nervy finish and with Fullerton pulled for the final two minutes of play, Belfast held on for their fourth straight win that takes them third in the Elite League table.

Man of the Match: #77 Josh Roach


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