Belfast Telegraph

Morgan expects Giants to find their stride after soaring past Panthers

Belfast Giants 3 Nottingham Panthers 0

Double hit: Liam Morgan leads the Giants’ celebrations
Double hit: Liam Morgan leads the Giants’ celebrations
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

Leading scorer Liam Morgan has backed the Belfast Giants to find their offensive touch after leading them to their first Elite League win of the season with a double in their 3-0 win over the Nottingham Panthers.

The winger scored his second and third goals of the season to secure the win at the SSE Arena, while netminder Shane Owen made 26 saves to keep his first shut-out in a Giants jersey as Adam Keefe's side bounced back from their shock defeat to the Dundee Stars.

Curtis Hamilton added an empty netter with 37 seconds remaining - his fifth of the season - to ensure the Giants go to 1-0-1 on the season, and Morgan has backed his team-mates to follow his example on offense.

"Our main focus was to tighten up on defence. We gave up too many odd-man rushes (against Dundee). Keefer said our main goal was to tighten up defensively like we played in the Champions League. We did a good job shutting them out, so job well done," said the 21-year-old, who has 10 points in eight games.

"I'm feeling good. I'm still adjusting, in my opinion. It's different hockey to the college style I'm used to playing.

"I'm sure the team will come around too, offensively. Hopefully we'll keep our offense up going into the next few games."

As well as ending a two-game losing skid, the Giants also snapped a two-game powerplay drought as Morgan's opening goal came on the man advantage.

With Panthers' Gui Lepine in the box (holding), the winger walked into the left circle and fired on goal, with the deflection off a Nottingham stick seeing the puck evading netminder Kevin Carr for what would be the game-winning goal at 9:13 of the first.

Once again Belfast's penalty kill was flawless, playing out a couple of second period penalties to Matt Pelech (roughing) and Ben Lake (tripping), but they saved their best kill for the start of the third period when Brian Ward was ejected for a tripping major, only for the Giants killers to draw a couple of Panthers penalties to play it out on the man advantage.

Morgan made sure of victory when he added his and the Giants' second at 14:14 of the final period after some good work down the left by Ben Lake and Lewis Hook, with the latter dishing the puck to Morgan for the finish, with Hamilton's empty netter the icing on the cake.

"It feels great. We needed to get the first (league win) under our belt, hopefully there's many more to come," added Morgan.

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