Nottingham Panthers 2 Belfast Giants 7
Having never scored a hat-trick in his professional career, Belfast Giants forward Ben Lake finally broke that milestone in their 7-2 win over the Nottingham Panthers at the Motorpoint Arena — and then went one better!
The Great Britain winger became the first Giants player to score four goals in one game since November 2018 as he put the Panthers to the sword and helped his side extend their winning run in the Premier Sports Elite League to eight games.
After stabbing in Griffin Reinhart’s rebound at 11:55, Lake would go on to add a spectacular backhanded effort at 16:54 of the second before completing the hat-trick off Tyler Soy’s behind the net feed 7:42 into the third.
The icing on the cake was supplied 2:43 from the final buzzer; Scott Conway putting it on a plate for Lake to tap in for a powerplay goal at the back door to round off a fine day’s work.
“It was actually a strange feeling, I didn’t expect to get another one!” laughed Lake of his fourth.
“There were some great plays from my line-mates. They were able to find me and luckily they went in the net.”
The second goal in particular was impressive; Lake being dragged to the ice as he shot backhanded, somehow beating Panthers netminder Kevin Carr five-hole to make the score 5-2 at the time and put some daylight between the two teams.
“I was going to the net and Hooky (Lewis Hook) gave me a pass. Griff (Reinhart) was yelling for it so I tried to touch it back to him but the puck got stuck in my feet,” explains Lake, who has scored five goals in his last three games and seven this season.
“I just tried to get it on net. I didn’t even see it go in, I was on my back, I just heard the rest of our guys cheering. I still don’t know how it went in now!”
With their eighth win on the spin, the Giants have moved just five points behind leaders the Sheffield Steelers, still with a game in hand too, and are riding a wave of momentum.
At the Panthers, they were 3-0 up after just 6:07 thanks to goals from David Goodwin, Conway and Cam Knight and, despite the hosts threatening a brief comeback through Mark Matheson and Matthew Myers, Tyler Beskorowany shut the door with 27 saves at one end and Lake made the difference at the other.
“Things are going our way right now and things are clicking, which is good to see. We’re coming to the rink, practicing, having a good time and full of confidence knowing what makes us a good team,” added Lake.
“There’s no doubt in the locker room that we can beat any team in this league and it’s a lot of fun to have that attitude.”