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Elite League: Overtime defeat for Giants against Devils

Belfast Giants 2 - Cardiff Devils 3 after overtime

By Adam McKendry

An overtime goal from Joey Martin condemned the Belfast Giants to a 3-2 defeat to league leaders the Cardiff Devils at the SSE Arena in the Elite League.

The result ensures the weekend is split between the two sides after the Giants won Friday night’s first game on penalty shots and maintains the Devils’ seven point lead at the top of the league table.

Similarly to the first game it was a clash of the two British netminders as Jackson Whistle got the start for Belfast off the back off a 39 save performance on Friday, with Ben Bowns opposing him.

It was a first period of few chances, both sides forging few clear cut shots on goal, however Whistle was called into action on several occasions to deny some speculative Devils efforts.

The British netminder needed to be alert to deny Cardiff captain Jake Morrisette on a couple of occasions, while the hosts had a potential goal ruled out when the video review determined David Rutherford’s shot hit the crossbar and rebounded away.

But the best chance of the opening 20 minutes dropped the way of Giants captain Blair Riley, who stormed the offensive zone and flicked a wrister against the base of the right post with Bowns well beaten.

However, the second period belonged to the visitors and, although Whistle did brilliantly to deny Patrick Asselin early, the Devils took the lead at 26:00 when a loose pass found Layne Ulmer and the forward deked past Whistle to finish.

It was a rare mistake from the Giants backstop, who redeemed himself with an outstanding double stop from Morrisette at the crease, but he was powerless to deny Ulmer his second when he got a tip on Gleason Fournier’s shot from the high point at 33:17.

There was hope for the hosts when they struck back shorthanded though, Darcy Murphy skating down the wing at 34:40 and centring for Spiro Goulakos to tap into the empty cage with Bowns drawn out of position.

And four minutes into the third period the scores were levelled as this time the Giants struck on the powerplay at 43:51, Darcy Murphy poking the puck under the stranded Bowns and Blair Riley finishing it at the back post.

Cardiff d-man Bryce Reddick then had a glorious chance to restore his side’s lead after being held back when through on goal, earning a penalty shot, but his backhanded effort was blocked away by Whistle.

Both netminders needed to make big saves to ensure the game ended in a tie, Whistle especially standing tall to deny Joey Martin in a one on one in the dying stages as the game headed to overtime for the second night.

But where Whistle denied Martin in regulation time, he couldn’t stop him in overtime, the forward flicking home a bouncing puck from Paul Crowder at the crease to start the celebrations among the large travelling support.

Man of the Match: Layne Ulmer (Cardiff Devils)

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