Belfast Telegraph

It's (Saint) Patrick's Day as Dwyer leads Giants to double over Blaze

Belfast Giants 2-1 Coventry Blaze

Belfast Giants' Patrick Dwyer with Coventry Blaze's Matt Hackett (William Cherry/Presseye)
Belfast Giants' Patrick Dwyer with Coventry Blaze's Matt Hackett (William Cherry/Presseye)
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

On the Belfast Giants' night of celebration for St Patrick's Day, it was destined for their own Saint Patrick to come up with the goods.

Bedecked in shamrock emblazoned jerseys, Patrick Dwyer's goal eight minutes into the third period proved the game-winner to lead the Giants to back-to-back wins over the Coventry Blaze at the SSE Arena.

A strong forecheck from Darcy Murphy turned over the puck behind the Blaze net, and when Dwyer took possession and brought it out in front, he waited out Coventry netminder Matt Hackett to roof it for the deciding goal.

It was the former Carolina Hurricane who had given the Giants the lead at 4:47 of the second period too. With Shawn Pauly in the box for hooking, Kyle Baun picked up a loose puck in the crease after a goalmouth scramble and fed Dwyer in the left circle for the snap finish.

Once again backup Stephen Murphy - in for the injured Tyler Beskorowany - was exceptional between the pipes, turning away 31 of the 32 shots on his goal and making some breathtaking stops in the process.

The Scottish netminder denied Alex Nikiforuk on two one-on-one chances, while he also needed to block from Nicolai Bryhnisveen and Kevin Morris as he once again provided the Giants with some exceptional backup goaltending in the absence of Beskorowany.

At the other end, Hackett was also in phenomenal form - 33 saves on 35 shots - making some outrageous saves, however it wasn't enough to prevent the Giants (41-12-2) from keeping the pressure on the league-leading Cardiff Devils.

Coventry had made it a nervy finish on the powerplay with 9:41 remaining, Luke Ferrara's crease-bound pass tipped in five-hole on Murphy by the stick of Josh Roach with Mark Garside in the box, but Belfast would hold on for the win.

With another three successes on the penalty kill, the Giants' special teams improve to 9-for-10 on the weekend, while the powerplay got its first success as it went 1-for-4 on the night.

The Giants are next in action when they head back on the road to take on the Manchester Storm this Friday (7pm).

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