Belfast Telegraph

"Complete player" Goodwin delivers on opening weekend for Belfast Giants

Belfast Giants forward David Goodwin on his debut for the team at the Cardiff Devils on Saturday (Pic: Rebecca Brain)
Belfast Giants forward David Goodwin on his debut for the team at the Cardiff Devils on Saturday (Pic: Rebecca Brain)
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

When Adam Keefe and Steve Thornton moved to bring in forward David Goodwin early last week, it was with the intention of providing a boost to a struggling offense.

By the end of the first period in Saturday's win over the Cardiff Devils, they already had it. The fast skating, energetic winger burst out of the blocks as if he had been with the team all season and immediately raised the pace from previous weeks.

It was what Goodwin was signed to do, of course, and already the decision to jettison Jean Dupuy in favour of the St Louis native looks to be paying dividends.

With the new man on board, the Giants came away with not only one win from their rivals in their own barn, but all four points on offer, snapping a four-game losing skid in the process.

Of course, there was no shortage of pressure on the latest man to pull on a teal - or, as it was on the weekend, white - jersey given the need for an offensive jump, but Goodwin excelled.

"It wasn't an easy one to come into, going to Cardiff in front of a sell-out crowd. I thought he played well and contributed, and gave us a bit of a boost," praised assistant coach Jeff Mason.

Goodwin took the first shift in Saturday's game at the Viola Arena, placed on a line alongside Jordan Smotherman and Ben Lake, and took to the challenge like the proverbial duck to water.

The first of the two games yielded a powerplay assist to get him off the mark, part of the cycle that led to Smotherman ripping one in from the point, breaking the duck inside the opening period.

That was followed up by a further assist on Sunday as he showcased another side of his skill-set, this time on the Giants' first 5-on-5 goal of the weekend, battling away for the puck behind the net before finding Brian Ward out in front for the jam play at the crease.

"I thought he looked good. He's a good player, he competes hard. He's a good addition the team, for sure," said Ward, who was paired with Goodwin on the powerplay both nights.

With quick feet and a willingness to go to the hard areas of the ice - namely in front of the netminder to provide the screen at the crease - he's the ideal player to compliment what the Giants already have.

Not only did he see time on the powerplay, the 27-year-old was entrusted with shifts on the penalty kill as well, and was also thrown into the fray in Saturday night's overtime period.

It was notable that the powerplay arguably looked the best it has all season with Goodwin added, with a bit more zip and danger about it, although that can also be attributed to the availability of Patrick Mullen and Ryan Lowney as dual quarterbacks.

Either way, Goodwin has landed on his feet in Belfast and, with two points in as many games, he's already set a high benchmark going forward.

"He's good. He's a complete player. He does more than just make plays. He's good on both sides of the puck," added head coach Keefe.

"I threw him in on the penalty kill and I don't think he's played on the kill unit for two years, and he still looked great there. You can tell he has a mind for the game. He's really improved our team in that aspect.

"Great attitude. Great team guy throughout that third period. I heard him saying the right things and doing the right things, which is important."

Highlight reel stuff

The Belfast Giants' final goal of the weekend made it onto the Elite League's Top 5 Plays of the Week list after Liam Reddox's classy backhanded finish past Ben Bowns.

The winger took a brilliant dished pass from Bobby Farnham, who also gets a credit in the video, to skate in one-on-one with the netminder for the strike on Sunday.

"Just a great shift from start to finish. Wardo made a great play through the neutral zone, Bobby picked the puck up and hit me slashing with some speed," explained Reddox.

"Lucky enough I got it behind the goalie, which hasn't been so easy this year."

The goal made it into third on the list, with all five of the plays available to view below:

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