Belfast Telegraph

Murphy is the hero as Belfast Giants snuff out Flames

Belfast Giants 5 Guildford Flames 4

By Stuart McKinley

Darcy Murphy grabbed the decisive goal as the Belfast Giants won a dramatic - and at times feisty - battle with the Guildford Flames.

Twice the Giants opened up a two-goal lead only for the Flames to get back on level terms before Murphy struck with 10 minutes to go to give Adam Keefe's team a 5-4 victory and move them up to fourth in the Elite League table.

The fact that only one of the nine goals was scored even-handed tells its own tale of a game riddled with penalties - and a couple of bust-ups thrown in.

The Giants grabbed the initiative early, going 1-0 up with only 92 seconds on the clock.

Sebastien Sylvestre and Colin Shields carved out the chance and Brendan Connolly provided the finish.

The Shields to Connolly combination brought about the second goal two minutes later - this time on a powerplay - as the Giants tightened their early grip on the game.

A stunned Guildford team gradually worked their way into the game and as the Giants ran into penalty trouble, they were level before the 12-minute mark.

A five-on-three penalty had been killed off, but Ryan Martinelli was still in the box as his roughing offence was deemed serious enough to merit a double minor - meaning four minutes off the ice - when Carl Ackered finished off Rasmus Edstrom's pass at 7:37.

Those two were involved in creating the goal that brought the Flames level, this time taking advantage of a five-on-three as Brandon Benedict and Martinelli were off the ice, with Jesse Craige finishing at 11:47

The first period goal rush wasn't finished there.

Martinelli was still sitting in the box when the Giants got their noses in front again when Steve Saviano set up the impressive John Kurtz for a short-handed goal at 13:09.

Kurtz quickly doubled his tally when the Giants found themselves on a five-on-three of their own, with Saviano and Shields setting him up.

It was only after Mikael Lidhammar pulled a goal back for the Flames to make it 4-3 three and a half minutes into the second period - racing away on his own to score short-handed - that the scoring slowed down.

It wasn't until three minutes into the third period that the next goal arrived, with Guildford drawing level for a second time in the game thanks to John Dunbar netting on yet another five-on-three as Spiro Goulakos and Mark Garside sat out penalties for kneeing and tripping respectively.

At that stage, it was anyone's game.

The Giants couldn't take advantage of two separate powerplay opportunities before Kurtz and Jonathan Ferland broke forward and set up Murphy to strike what turned out to be the winning goal at 49:21.

It was four-on-four for a couple of minutes after Connolly and Guildford's Brennan Yadlowski became involved in a tussle and both teams also had powerplay opportunities in the remaining minutes.

But the Giants were able to see out the result and they will fly out to face the Sheffield Steelers tomorrow confident of getting a third win of the season against the Yorkshire outfit.

Belfast Telegraph

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