Belfast Giants through to Challenge Cup quarter-finals after win over Fife Flyers
Belfast Giants 5 - Fife Flyers 0
The Belfast Giants ensured their progression to the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup with a 5-0 shutout win over the Fife Flyers at the SSE Arena.
Jonathan Ferland netted twice after Brendan Connolly opened the scoring, with Sébastien Sylvestre and Blair Riley adding two late goals as the Giants rode 18 saves from Jackson Whistle to victory.
Belfast went with Whistle in nets, while Fife, already in the Challenge Cup quarter-finals, countered with back-up Jordan Marr.
It took 7:46 for the Giants to take the lead, Brendan Connolly firing high past Marr on a breakaway from their own defensive zone.
All of nine seconds later the hosts doubled their lead, Steve Saviano pulling the puck back into the high slot for Jonathan Ferland who rattled home a low slapshot at 7:55.
And Ferland added his second at 10:18, extending the Giants’ lead to three as he swept home at the back door following a pass across from Brandon Benedict.
There was concern, however, for Adam Keefe as defenceman Kevin Raine left the action in the first period and then in the second another defenceman, Cole Jarrett, also had to be helped off the ice.
It was a second period of few chances, so much so that the shot count read a disappointing 6-5 in favour of Belfast, as the home side seemed content simply to hold onto their advantage.
A rather uneventful third period passed by and it looked like both sides would simply see out the game as it was, but it exploded back into life with four minutes to go.
First came an outstanding save from Whistle to preserve the shutout with four minutes to go, spinning in his crease to make the point blank glove save from Peter LeBlanc.
Then Belfast got their fourth, Blair Riley sending a beautiful reverse pass to Sébastien Sylvestre in the slot, the forward finishing past Marr at 57:09 for his 10th goal of the season.
And at 59:24 the icing was put on the cake as Riley netted, which prompted an angry response from Liam Heelis, who dropped the gloves with John Kurtz in a big fight to end the game.
The Giants’ attention returns to the league and a trip to the Nottingham Panthers on Sunday evening for a conference match-up at the National Ice Centre.
Man of the Match: Jonathan Ferland
Belfast Telegraph Digital