Belfast Telegraph

Ferland and Benedict complete the perfect weekend for Giants

Guildford Flames 2 Belfast Giants 3

By Stuart McKinley

Two goals from Jonathan Ferland and a third in as many games for Brandon Benedict topped off a perfect weekend for the Belfast Giants as they claimed a 3-2 win over the Guildford Flames.

Faced with the challenge of back-to-back home games against Coventry Blaze on Friday and Saturday before taking on the Flames last night, it was the Giants who were on fire as they secured three wins - and six hugely valuable points - inside 72 hours to move to within just a single point of the Cardiff Devils at the top of the Elite League table.

The win in Guildford was hard earned. After a goalless first period Adam Keefe's men had to fight back after going 1-0 down early in the second before taking control of the game.

The important goals in the game were condensed into an eight minute spell in the second period, with the three Giants strikes coming within just over five minutes of each other.

The Giants had been restricted to just 11 attempts on goal in a tight first period - they were even out-shot by Guildford who had 13 attempts on Jackson Whistle.

A penalty call against Ashley Tait - who was drafted in to the Giants line-up at short notice by Keefe - led to Guildford getting the goal to break the stalemate at 25:57.

Brett Ferguson sent the puck in to Rhett Rachinski and his perfect pass went straight to Ben Davies, who fired past Whistle.

The Giants responded strongly to not only take a firm grip on the game, but to put themselves into a lead that they was enough to win them the game.

The equaliser came at 28:23 when Jim Vandermeere and Darcy Murphy created the opening for Ferland to score his first of the game.

The Giants were on a powerplay of their own when they grabbed the lead at 32:29.

Ferland picked up a puck that had only been partially cleared by the Guildford defence and tried his luck, beating Chris Carrozzi with a shot through traffic for his second goal in just over four minutes.

The Giants goal rush continued then they scored their third a minute and six seconds later.

This time Sebastien Sylvestre slipped the puck to Brandon Benedict and the 35-year-old kept his hot streak going by adding to the goals he has scored against Coventry on Friday and Saturday.

Guildford made it a nervy finish for the Giants when they turned the tables on a powerplay and reduced the deficit to a single goal when Mikael Lidhammar beat Whistle with a shot into the roof of the net with just a couple of minutes to go.

Flames coach Parul Dickson then pulled Carrozzi as he went all out for an equaliser, but the Giants defence stood firm to see out the victory.

Belfast Telegraph

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