Belfast Telegraph

Giants retain that winning feeling by snuffing out Flames

Belfast Giants 3 Guildford Flames 2

By Adam McKendry

The Belfast Giants moved third in the Elite League table as they made it four wins on the bounce with a 3-2 victory over the Guildford Flames at the SSE Arena.

Top scorer Patrick Dwyer was back in the goals again, while Curtis Leonard and Jonathan Ferland also found the twine for Belfast.

Jamie Crooks' late goal threatened to make things interesting, with Kruise Reddick also finding the net for Guildford, but ultimately Adam Keefe's men held on for a crucial two points.

In their fourth game in six days, Keefe opted to start regular netminder Tyler Beskorowany again, while the Flames put Elite League veteran Travis Fullerton between the pipes.

Two early chances fell to the Giants and both times they found the iron, Francis Beauvillier hitting the post from the slot before Dustin Johner did the same, while Beskorowany had to be alert to deny Crooks, and he then made an excellent stop going post to post to blank Kruise Reddick from the right circle.

And it was the hosts, who did have the better of the early action, who took the lead at 11:37, defenceman Leonard ripping a shot from the blue line that beat Fullerton five hole.

Jez Lundin had a chance to equalise for Guildford, his slapshot deflecting away off netminder Beskorowany's helmet, before they did level the scores short-handed, Kendall McFaull with the defensive turnover and Reddick with the calm finish.

After the first intermission it was again the Giants who were edging proceedings and Dwyer nearly had them back in front shortly after the restart, however he couldn't jam home a rebound at the crease.

The Flames were also looking threatening with the puck and Beskorowany had to be alert to block a low shot from Evan Janssen after another neutral ice turnover.

But it would be the Giants who led at the second intermission and it came in the most fortunate of circumstances at 36:54, leading scorer Dwyer centring the puck from behind the net and it took a wicked deflection off Fullerton's back and into the net.

Within 69 seconds of the third period beginning, the lead became two. Beauvillier battled down the boards to win possession, he then fed Blair Riley and Jonathan Ferland had the easy task of sliding home the centring pass into the empty cage at 41:09.

Bishop and Josh Roach both tested Fullerton on a Giants powerplay before the Flames made it a one-goal game again at 53:13 when a scramble in the goalmouth saw the puck forced in by Crooks.

Beauvillier had a chance to respond immediately for the Giants, skating in on Fullerton, but the netminder made a good save five hole, and Kyle Baun deserved better when he took the puck the length of the ice but nobody was on the end of his centring pass.

Trying to find that levelling goal, Guildford pulled Fullerton for the extra attacker, but ultimately it proved fruitless as the Giants held on.

Belfast Telegraph

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