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Last minute Kyle Baun heroics see Belfast Giants win thriller over Coventry Blaze

Coventry Blaze 1-2 Belfast Giants

By Adam McKendry

Kyle Baun's goal with 59 seconds remaining in the final period saw the Belfast Giants edge their first game on their return to the Elite League, defeating the Coventry Blaze 2-1.

Two goals in the second period from Alex Nikiforuk and Dustin Johner cancelled each other out, with Baun's late winner enough to extend the league leaders' winning run in the Elite League to eight games.

Netminder Tyler Beskorowany was called into action early to make some key saves as the Blaze applied the pressure in the opening exchanges and the Giants had to absorb waves of attacks.

But the best chance fell to Belfast when Jonathan Ferland and Blair Riley went on a shorthanded breakaway, however Coventry netminder Miika Wiikman made the sprawling save on Riley's effort.

Francis Beauvillier and Kevin Morris dropped the gloves at the start of the second period after the Giants forward was called for boarding, and on that powerplay the Blaze took the lead when Alex Nikiforuk finished from a tight angle at 23:59.

The game was then severely delayed when Coventry defenseman Justin Hache took a big hit along the boards and had to be helped to the locker room, with the home fans incensed there was no call from the officials.

And their frustrations were only further exacerbated when Dustin Johner levelled things at 30:22 on the powerplay, the center tipping in Curtis Leonard's pass to the backdoor.

Beskorowany had to come up big in the third period when Kelin Ainsworth was set up at the crease after a giveaway in the Giants zone, and that set up the grandstand finish.

The puck broke to Baun in the neutral zone and he skated in on Wiikman, cutting across the Finn and finishing five-hole on the backhand at 59:01 to seal the two points.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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