Giants send out message to rivals as Baun delivers four-star show
Cardiff Devils 1 Belfast Giants 8
As far as statements go, they don't get much bigger than this.
A night after shutting out the Nottingham Panthers in their own building 4-0, the league-leading Belfast Giants sent out a real message by putting eight goals past the defending champions Cardiff Devils in an 8-1 win at Ice Arena Wales.
Kyle Baun was the man of the moment, scoring four goals in an exceptional individual performance, but once again it was a team effort that led Adam Keefe's side to their seventh straight win that extends their lead to four points in the Elite League.
Tyler Beskorowany again was phenomenal in goal, making 25 stops on 26 shots, and the powerplay unit was in full flow, scoring four times on the way to victory.
Indeed, in what was supposed to be a battle of two of the league's best netminders, Beskorowany thoroughly outplayed opposite number Ben Bowns, who was chased from the game early in the third.
The British international was beaten twice in the first five minutes, the Giants picking up right where they left off in Nottingham the night before.
The first came at 2:57 on a four-on-four, Jim Vandermeer having an easy tap-in after being set up by Baun on a two-on-one, before Baun got his first at 4:27 when he ripped home a one-timer after Patrick Dwyer's pass.
Beskorowany, meanwhile, saved his best stop of the first period for the end when a loose pass from Hunter Bishop allowed Stephen Dixon and Charles Linglet in on a two-on-one, going post to post to deny the latter with a stunning stop.
Josh Roach had a deflected shot hit the post at the start of the second before Cardiff pulled one back, Joey Martin passing to the back door for Sean Bentivoglio to finish at 25:45.
But when the Devils got on the wrong side of the officials, the Giants made them pay.
Two quick goals on the powerplay had the visitors three up heading in at the second intermission, Baun grabbing his second on the backhand at 32:43 before Blair Riley continued his form with a nice finish at 34:19.
Devils captain Jake Morissette had two great chances, one either side of the second intermission, to make it a contest, but when Beskorowany denied him on both, the game was lost.
Baun completed his hat-trick at 40:46, beating Bowns five hole on the powerplay, and the Cardiff netminder was taken out of the game after Vandermeer posted his second, and the Giants' sixth, at 42:59 with a five hole slapshot.
Replacement Thomas Murdy lasted all of 108 seconds before he was beaten too, Baun set up by Dwyer again in the right circle and the winger had time to pick his spot and finish at 44:47.
There was even time for Beskorowany to pull off a couple of spectacular stops to deny Martin and Dixon on the penalty kill to further frustrate the hosts, before Darcy Murphy rounded off the scoring at 56:49 when he tipped in a shot from Curtis Leonard for the Giants' eighth.
Game over. Statement made.