Giants can build on win: Smotherman
Belfast Giants 3 Manchester Storm 1
Game-winning goalscorer Jordan Smotherman admitted the Belfast Giants proved something to themselves by breaking a six-game losing streak with a 3-1 win over the Manchester Storm at the SSE Arena.
Having not tasted victory since October 4, Smotherman came to the team's rescue with two goals in the third period to lead the Giants to the win that sees them improve to 3-1-2 in the Elite League, with captain Matt Pelech also netting his second of the campaign.
Netminder Stephen Murphy, getting a rare start ahead of regular first choice Shane Owen, was excellent in nets and made 20 saves, including making a crucial stop in saving Storm winger Scott Simmonds' penalty shot just 11 seconds before Smotherman got his game-winner.
It means the Giants take three points away from their double-header with the Storm, having lost 4-3 in a shoot-out to the same opponents on Saturday, and Smotherman admitted that they badly needed the win.
"We talked a lot before the game about showing some character and some passion tonight," revealed the winger, who has now scored six goals this season.
"Six-in-a-row was unacceptable, seven was not an option. Those two points tonight were big for us. Tonight was a lot about the performance but not from a skills standpoint, more from a passion standpoint.
"We had something to prove to ourselves and to the people watching the game that we're not a team that loses six-in-a-row, and seven is unacceptable."
It was another performance, however, where the team struggled to find a clinical edge as they fired 84 shots on the Manchester net over the two games and scored only six goals.
This time, however, Smotherman was there to take up the mantle and get the winning goal, benefiting from a bounce off a defenceman's skate to roof it over Storm goalie Matt Ginn's shoulder after making a nice move to get into the offensive zone.
"As a team, that's really what we need right now, to get those bounces, get some confidence back," admitted Smotherman.
"We're happy to have the three (points), but we're maybe not happy with how we got them. We have more to give in that room, but any time you can get three points out of four on a weekend it's a good weekend."
With the team now back in the win column, and with a bit of confidence back in the changing room, they can focus on making it back-to-back victories for only the second time this season when they take on the Dundee Stars in Belfast on Friday.
"The bones are there, we see that all the time. We dominated that third period pretty well and we finally got one to go. That was huge for us and a big confidence boost going into next weekend," added Smotherman.