Magnificent seven sees Giants narrow gap at top
Belfast Giants 7 Coventry Blaze 4
A four-goal blitz inside just over seven minutes gave the Belfast Giants a 7-4 victory over Coventry Blaze and saw them cut the Cardiff Devils’ lead at the top of the Elite League table to just three points.
The Giants had to do things the hard way though in the first game of a double-header against Blaze, as they first fought back from 3-1 down and then trailed 4-3 before striking four times in the third period to win the game.
There was no sign that Adam Keefe’s team would need to dig so deep when they took the lead at 5:46, Jim Vandermeer beat Kevin Nastiuk with a low finish after being set up by Brendan Connolly and Sebastien Sylvestre.
A hooking penalty against Jonathan Ferland put Coventry on a powerplay and 10 seconds in Danick Paquette levelled the scores at 7:30.
A five-on-three powerplay early in the second period led to Coventry scoring twice in just 21 seconds.
Ryan Martinelli was joined in the box by Ferland and while those two sat out Paquette netted his second of the game right on the 28 minute mark.
Coventry still had a one-man advantage when Brett Robinson made it 3-1 almost immediately.
The Giants pulled one back on a powerplay of their own just over a minute later when Colin Shields got his stick to Steve Saviano’s shot and deflected the puck past Nastiuk.
Saviano was instrumental again as the Giants levelled matters at 32:45. He skated through the zones and offloaded to Darcy Murphy, who shot high into the net.
Coventry went ahead again just 27 seconds later — a fifth goal in just over five minutes — when Jordan Pietrus scored.
The third period, however, belonged solely to the Giants.
First they levelled for the second time when Sylvestre snapped up a chance at 44:24.
Saviano provided the chance again from which Brandon Benedict gave the Giants at 47:30 and 16 seconds later Connolly let fly with a shot that gave Nastiuk no chance.
A dramatic night at Belfast’s SSE Arena was completed with just over nine minutes to go when Ferland and Sylvestre combined to set up John Kurtz and he completed the Giants’ magnificent seven.