Giants slip up but home comforts are now in sight
Braehead Clan 3 Belfast Giants 2
A brave comeback ultimately came to nothing as the Belfast Giants suffered a 3-2 defeat to Braehead Clan in Glasgow.
Trailing 2-0 at the end of the first period, the Giants clawed their way back into the game as John Kurtz cut the deficit in half just before the end of the second period before he laid on the second for Jonathan Ferland with 15 minutes to go.
That set up a thrilling climax to an exciting contest and it was the Clan who took the points with a powerplay winner seven and a half minutes from the end.
The defeat ends a four-match winning streak for the Giants, and also sees them slip four points behind the Cardiff Devils at the top of the Elite League table.
It isn't all bad news for the Giants, however. Their marathon run of nine successive league matches away from home is now over, and coach Adam Keefe would happily have accepted seven wins and 14 points from that run.
Without a win in seven games, Clan gave their home fans something to cheer as early as the eighth minute when they grabbed the lead.
Mike Embach and Adam Brace were the creators and Tyler Shattock provided the finish at 7:43.
The Giants almost got to the first intermission just a goal behind, but Braehead doubled their lead just a second before the buzzer.
Clan goaltender Ryan Nie played the puck out, with Brendan Brooks working it to Tyler Scofield. Knowing time was running out, he tried his luck and the puck found the net.
The Giants were continually frustrated in their search for goals before finally getting a breakthrough 46 seconds before the end of the second period.
Matt Towe and Spiro Goulakos carved out the opportunity and Kurtz struck to give his team hope of a revival.
Kurtz then turned provider five minutes into the third period when he set up Ferland to finish, with the goal greeted by huge cheers from the travelling Belfast fans who had headed for a post-Christmas trip to Glasgow.
It was very much game on at that stage, but the Giants' attacking armour was blunted when they ran into penalty trouble.
A hooking call against Sebastien Sylvestre was successfully killed off, but when Kurtz was sent to the box for interference they could only survive for a minute before Braehead got the goal that would ultimately win the game.
Shattock and Brooks moved the puck - and the Giants defence with it - and Cameron Burt collected a pass before firing home.
The Giants had a powerplay opportunity of their own soon after, but couldn't use it to get an equaliser.
The Giants now have seven straight home games - the first against the Edinburgh Capitals on Friday night before meeting Clan in a return fixture on Saturday - and in all they have 28 league matches left in the season, with just six of them away from the SSE Arena.