Giants eclipsed by Stars as winning run is ended
Belfast Giants 3 Dundee Stars 6
The Belfast Giants seemingly can't work out the Dundee Stars conundrum at home this season as they lost for the third time to their Scottish rivals at the SSE Arena last night.
In a battle of the special teams in Belfast, it was the Stars' superior 2-for-4 powerplay that led them to an impressive 6-3 win over Adam Keefe's side, who saw their own powerplay fall flat at 0-for-3.
Stars forward Kevin Dufour will take all the plaudits, though, for a hat-trick as he grabbed the visitors' opener and then added two empty-netters to seal his treble, and the win for his side, late on.
The hosts had their chances, and the fact they rang the pipes four times across the three periods shows how close they came to forcing overtime, but ultimately it was Matt Marquardt's low wrister on the powerplay with 10:08 remaining of the final period that settled it.
Matt Carter also found the twine on the man advantage at 13:09 of the opening period for the visitors, who ended the Giants' hopes of making it four wins on the bounce for the first time since early November and lead the season series between the two sides 4-3.
With the defeat, the Giants fall to 17-10-2 on the season and the good work done in doubling up the Glasgow Clan on their return from the Christmas break has been undone with this costly home loss that leaves them still four points adrift of the Sheffield Steelers in the Elite League standings.
The home side had led, and it took them just 5:00 to pull ahead as David Goodwin netted his third goal in two games when he turned in Jordan Smotherman's centring pass, but the advantage lasted just 1:38, however, and it was slack defence from the hosts that let the Scots level it up.
With the penalty going against them, the Giants seemed to switch off in anticipation of the play being blown dead and in a messy play at the crease, Dufour was able to turn it home for 1-1 with his first of the night.
The hosts trailed at the first intermission, Stars winger Carter firing through traffic from the top of the right circle and past the unsighted Shane Owen to find the twine at 13:09 for 2-1.
But the hosts tied it up early in the second, Liam Reddox taking the puck along the goal-line and throwing the pass to the crease for Bobby Farnham to finish.
The hosts did go back ahead at 13:53 of the second period when Reddox once again found the perfect pass to the back door, this time seeking out Patrick Mullen, but it was a tied game at the second intermission after Carter's pass found Colton Kroeker for the powerplay marker at 18:55 of the middle frame.
When the Giants ran into penalty trouble again midway through the period, Stars got the game winner when Marquardt fired in from the right circle at 9:52 of the third.
Dufour then completed his treble with two empty-netters to seal the win late on.