Belfast Giants: Title hopes dashed after shock home defeat against Edinburgh Capitals
Belfast Giants 2 - Edinburgh Capitals 4
The Belfast Giants’ Elite League title ambitions took a significant hammering as they suffered a massive shock, losing 4-2 at the SSE Arena to bottom side the Edinburgh Capitals.
A stunning 44-save performance from Capitals goaltender Tyler Beskorowany helped the visitors to just their fifth win of the season, while at the same time effectively ending the title hopes of Adam Keefe’s men who were well off their best.
With several imports ruled out, it allowed the Giants to give backup netminder Chris Truehl a start, while the Capitals opted for former NHL backstop Beskorowany at the other end.
It was the visitors who got off to a flyer, and they led after just 5:15 on the powerplay, forward Igor Valeyev taking it into the slot where his wrister was deflected into the twine off a Belfast stick and past the unfortunate Truehl.
Beskorowany had to come to Edinburgh’s rescue twice, denying Matt Towe and Blair Riley, before the Giants equalised at 13:46 on the powerplay, Sébastien Sylvestre showing some great stick handling to create space in the slot from where he fired home low.
Belfast were doing all the pressing, and captain Riley missed two great chances to put the hosts ahead, while at the other end Dylan Anderson snapped his stick as he went to poke the puck into the cage with Truehl dragged away.
Capitals forward Patrik Moisio was a threat, and he was guilty of passing up a big chance early in the second when in space at the back door, however he couldn’t force home Mike d’Orazio’s excellent pass.
But the visitors weren’t long in retaking the lead, going back ahead at 29:33 when a two-on-one breakaway was finished nicely when Valeyev netted his second by roofing the puck past Truehl on the stick side.
The SSE Arena was restless, with the Giants doing nothing to settle them as Beskorowany again denied Brendan Connolly on the powerplay before also blanking Darcy Murphy at the crease after Kevin Raine threw a pass across the face of goal.
Despite their wastefulness, Belfast levelled again at 35:28 again on the powerplay, this time Dustin Johner the finisher as he took the puck behind the net before coming back in front and roofing it past Beskorowany.
Having come back, the Giants quickly found themselves behind again early in the third period at 43:31 in rather unfortunate circumstances, d’Orazio firing a shot that rebounded off the back boards to Ainar Podzins at the back post, and he stabbed it in.
The tension in the game rose after that point when a check to the head on John Kurtz went unpenalised and the forward took matters into his own hands by roughing a Capital in response.
That seemed to provoke a response from the Giants during the penalty kill and Beskorowany had to be alert to deny Jonathan Ferland twice, one a ferocious slapshot, and Spiro Goulakos on the backhand.
The response wasn’t enough though as no matter how many shots the Giants threw on Beskorowany, he was level to all of them and continued to deny an increasingly angry home bench.
And with goaltender Truehl pulled for the final minute, Edinburgh turned over the puck after Sylvestre rattled the pipes and forward Mike Cazzola took it the length of the ice for the empty netter with seven seconds to go.
Man of the Match: Tyler Beskorowany (Edinburgh Capitals)
Belfast Telegraph Digital