Four-midable Belfast Giants strike back to shutout Storm
Belfast Giants 4-0 Manchester Storm
The Belfast Giants got back to winning ways as they shutout the Manchester Storm in the SSE Arena for a 4-0 victory.
Having been frustrated in the first game of their doubleheader on Friday night, where they only scored twice on 41 shots, the forwards found their scoring touch with Patrick Dwyer, Dustin Johner, David Rutherford and Josh Roach all scoring.
Netminder Tyler Beskorowany turned away all 18 shots he faced to keep his third shutout in a Giants jersey to backstop them to a dominant victory that maintains their three-point lead at the top of the table.
After dropping the opening game on penalty shots the night before, Adam Keefe retaliated by bringing Hunter Bishop back into the line-up and starting netminder Beskorowany again.
The outstanding Matt Ginn, who made 39 saves in Friday's win, was between the pipes for the Storm and it was he who was far busier in the first period as Belfast burst out early.
Ginn's last-ditch stick save just prevented Blair Riley handing the hosts an early lead, however he did have to rely on the frame of his goal to deny Dwyer on the powerplay.
When he was beaten, it was in relatively soft fashion, Kyle Baun firing the puck to the crease where Dwyer was on hand to divert it low past the netminder at 9:45.
Ciaran Long nearly responded for Manchester before the first intermission when his redirect just went the wrong side of the post, while Darcy Murphy was well denied by Ginn in the slot.
After the restart, Dane Byers nearly broke through for the Storm when he poked just wide from Long's pass to the crease, while the Giants had a goal ruled out when Dwyer looked to have grabbed a second, however it was washed out for Baun being in the crease.
The hosts didn't have long to wait for a second goal though, Johner and Jonathan Ferland going on the two-on-one that saw Johner beat Ginn with a beautifully placed snipe from the right circle at 30:33.
Manchester had two chances to get on the board before the second intermission, however Beskorowany saved well from Long's one-timer from the right circle and then at the back door from Mike Hammond after Long's excellent cross-ice pass.
But, like the night before, there were ugly scenes when Hammond and Rutherford clashed behind the Belfast net, leading to a lengthy brawl between all five skaters on the ice and penalties for the two forwards.
The Storm's best chance to pull themselves back into the game came at the start of the third when a giveaway from Belfast handed Logan MacMillan a chance, however he couldn't beat Beskorowany even though he had two bites at it.
He was made to pay too when Belfast put the game to bed at 43:22, Rutherford with an exceptional finish off the crossbar from the right circle.
That was quickly followed by the fourth at 45:45 on the powerplay as some beautiful stick handling from Josh Roach took him into the slot, and he made no mistake with the finish, roofing the puck over Ginn's glove side.
Shane Bakker had a brilliant chance to at least send the visitors home with a consolation goal when he went on a breakaway, however Beskorowany made two brilliant saves to deny him and ensure he would keep a third shutout for the hosts.
Man of the Match: #22 Kevin Raine
Belfast Telegraph Digital