Giants prove famine is over with another six of the best
Belfast Giants 6 Glasgow Clan 1
Belfast Giants head coach Adam Keefe admitted he felt his side deserved to be rewarded for their offensive dominance as they hit the Glasgow Clan for six in this thrashing at the SSE Arena in the Elite League.
The Giants had been on a bizarre run of form that saw them look good offensively without being able to finish their chances, resulting in back-to-back home shut-outs against the Sheffield Steelers and Cardiff Devils, and leaving the side frustrated with their lack of finishing.
But that all changed at the weekend, with Keefe's side following up their 4-2 win at the Dundee Stars on Friday night with an offensive masterclass in Belfast yesterday afternoon, despite falling behind after just 51 seconds to Scott Jacklin's opener for the Clan.
David Goodwin grabbed his first two goals in teal since joining from Mora, while Brian Ward, Bobby Farnham, Liam Morgan and Jordan Smotherman all helped themselves to strikes as they put their Scottish rivals to the sword on home ice.
"There's been many games this year where we've checked off our process and felt like we've played our game. Doesn't make it any less frustrating about the results and obviously that came down to a lack of offense. (Yesterday) they got rewarded for those," said Keefe, whose side move to 14-8-2 on the season and are now just two points behind Elite League leaders the Sheffield Steelers.
"I thought we had a great first shift, they came down our end and we obviously gave one up.
"But I thought the guys stayed composed and just kept rolling. We weren't getting rewarded for our efforts in the first period but we stuck with it in the second period and then they got rewarded for their efforts."
Leading the offensive charge was newest man in Goodwin, who, after failing to score in his opening nine games for the Giants, finally broke his duck at 14:33 of the first period.
Not only that but the 27-year-old American doubled his tally at 19:57 of the middle frame, making it 5-1 to Belfast at the time and ending any slim chances Glasgow had of mounting an unlikely third period comeback.
"He's been great for us since he got here. Real smart hockey player on both sides of the puck and a real professional," praised Keefe of Goodwin, who has six points in 10 games for Belfast.
"Real nice to see him rewarded tonight by getting on the scoresheet. Hopefully he can loosen his grip on the stick now and they start going in for him."
Also pleasing for the Giants chief was the way his team came out in the final period and closed out the game comfortably, rather than allowing Glasgow to get a foothold.
The Giants outshot their opponents 19-9 in the third, with Clan back-up Jordan McLaughlin making an impressive cameo in relief of starter Patrick Killeen, and that left Keefe delighted at how his side refused to take their foot off the gas.
"What we said was we didn't want to make that third period any harder than we needed it to be," he beamed.
"We didn't want to be killing ourselves in the third period. The way to do that was by playing on offense and playing behind Glasgow and making sure we didn't give them any life. We did that through puck possession, the guys making good decisions with the puck.
"That frustrated Glasgow and, at 5-1 down, made them essentially quit. That's what we wanted to do. We closed out the game really well and it was important we learned how to do that."
And, perhaps most importantly, it's the Giants' first four-point weekend since their double-header win over the Cardiff Devils at the end of November, which will be a massive confidence boost for the locker room ahead of Wednesday's Challenge Cup quarter-final second leg at, ironically, the Devils.
"That was part of our message going into the game. It would be nice to get a four-point weekend and feel good about our week," revealed Keefe.
"We left Wednesday disappointed about the result but happy with our performance. Now we need to carry the way we performed into Cardiff on Wednesday and do a job there."