Belfast Giants shutout Medvescak Zagreb to get Continental Cup campaign off to a flier
Medvescak Zagreb 0-4 Belfast Giants
The Belfast Giants got their Continental Cup campaign off to the perfect start as they shutout Croatian side Medvescak Zagreb 4-0 at the SSE Arena.
Winger Patrick Dwyer was in sensational form, scoring a goal and adding two assists, with further goals from Jim Vandermeer, Lewis Hook and Dustin Johner securing all three points on offer in Belfast's eighth straight victory.
A positive start from the visitors saw goaltender Tyler Beskorowany tested by former Nottingham Panthers defenceman Yann Sauve, but the Giants were having chances at the other end as Jonathan Boxill put a redirect inches wide.
Former Giants forward Sebastien Sylvestre had a great chance to open the scoring but was denied by Beskorowany on a two-on-one, and it looked like the sides would be level at the first intermission when Belfast failed to capitalise on a 5-on-3 powerplay.
But they would lead at the first intermission with a goal 15.3 seconds from the interval, Patrick Dwyer throwing the puck to the crease where Jim Vandermeer tipped it in five-hole on Zagreb goalie Vilim Rosandic and then proceeded to follow the puck into the goal.
Having set up Vandermeer, it was Dwyer who also provided the second at 25:32, his centering pass turned home by Lewis Hook who was lurking in the slot.
Tomislav Zanoski should have pulled one back for Zagreb when Sylvestre put him into acres of space in front of the net, only for Beskorowany to get his body behind it, and Blair Riley was inches away from scoring a third when he just failed to connect on a Josh Roach pass.
Into the third period and it was a good start from Beskorowany that maintained the two-goal lead, denying Tomas Kudelka and then killing off a very dangerous looking powerplay from Zagreb.
And that allowed them to kill the game off as a contest at 50:36 when they found their third, Hunter Bishop timing his cross-ice pass perfectly for Dustin Johner to skate onto and the center went forehand-backhand to flick it over the sprawling Rosandic.
At 58:45 the icing was applied to the Giants' cake in deserved fashion as Dwyer grabbed a very deserved goal, sweeping home a loose puck on the powerplay after an excellent forecheck by Kyle Baun.
Man of the Match: Tyler Beskorowany
Belfast Telegraph Digital