Fantastic Palmberg hits treble in Giant triumph
Belfast Giants 5 Glasgow Clan 1
It was a night for the new boys at the SSE Arena as the Belfast Giants returned from their Christmas break with a comprehensive 5-1 win over the Glasgow Clan in the Elite League.
The main man was Swedish forward Rickard Palmberg who grabbed a hat-trick and added an assist in the win in a stunning individual display.
Palmberg, got the Giants on the board just before the first interval, providing the trail skating line to Jordan Smotherman's breakaway and dangling around Clan netminder Patrick Killeen for the backhand finish at 16:47 for 1-0.
The centre then added his second on the powerplay at 10:39 of the second period, having been set up by Ryan Lowney and Curtis Hamilton - who had a two-point night himself - for Belfast's third, and then wrapped up his treble just 1:47 into the final period after some good work from Liam Morgan.
The victory was spoiled a touch by a late goal from Scott Jacklin, coming at 14:50 of the final period for the Clan, but it didn't spoil the result for the Giants as Stephen Murphy's 29 saves backstopped them to a win that sees them improve to 16-9-2 on the season, with Adam Keefe's men moving to just four points behind league leaders the Sheffield Steelers in the standings.
It was also a good night for the latest of the Giants' new arrivals, Elgin Pearce, who also got on the scoresheet in the victory for his second goal in only his third game for his new side.
The winger, who joined from the Dundee Stars last week, got Belfast's second of the game, taking the feed from line-mate Palmberg and beating Killeen to make it 2-0 just 8:22 into the middle frame.
And the scoring was rounded off by centre Brian Ward, who grabbed his 15th of the season at 16:54 of the second period which, at that stage, made it 3-0, with the assists coming from Bobby Farnham and Liam Reddox.
After a big night against Fife before the festive break, the powerplay picked up where it left off with a 1-for-4 night at the SSE Arena, while the penalty kill was again exceptional at 4-for-4.
The Giants do it all again tonight when they travel to Glasgow for the second game of their weekend double-header against the Clan at the intu Braehead Arena (face-off 7pm).