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Owen stands tall as Giants find a way through to boost title hopes

Belfast Giants 3-1 Fife Flyers


Get in: Belfast Giants ace Liam Morgan celebrates scoring against the Fife Flyers at the SSE Arena

Get in: Belfast Giants ace Liam Morgan celebrates scoring against the Fife Flyers at the SSE Arena

William Cherry/Presseye

Get in: Belfast Giants ace Liam Morgan celebrates scoring against the Fife Flyers at the SSE Arena

Liam Morgan came up with the game-winner 5:45 from time as the Belfast Giants rode a 34-save display from netminder Shane Owen for a 3-1 win over the Fife Flyers at the SSE Arena.

Mere seconds after Fife netminder Adam Morrison - 39 saves - made a sensational stop to deny Matt Pelech on a two-on-one, the Giants got the crucial strike when Elgin Pearce fed the onrushing Morgan for the finish for his 14th goal of the season.

Winger David Goodwin took his personal tally to 15 for the season and extended his scoring streak to five consecutive games with a two-goal night, netting the opener on the powerplay at 13:58 of the opening period before wrapping things up 1:20 from time with an empty-netter.

The Giants also got a two-point night from captain Pelech, while at the other end Owen was exceptional in turning away 34 of the 35 shots on his net as the Giants improved to 28-16-4 and clawed back some ground in the Elite League title race.

Also key was an impressive three-for-four penalty kill which, although it gave up the Flyers' only goal of the night to Carlo Finucci in the first period, came up big in the final frame.

The first period had been a tale of two powerplay goals as the sides went in level at the first intermission.

The Giants had been ahead when, after James Isaac was pinged for holding the stick, Goodwin extended his scoring streak at 13:58 when he fired in the angled rebound off Curtis Hamilton's initial shot.

But the visitors pulled level when Kevin Raine was sent to the box for a questionable interference call and, when Owen couldn't handle Paul Crowder's shot, Finucci was quickest to react to make it 1-1 with 1:02 until the intermission.

If the first period was fairly uneventful, the second was even more so, with the action limited at both ends to two Giants penalty kills.

Fife nearly lost netminder Morrison to an innocuous looking injury when he needed treatment after stopping a shot from the blue-line, and then they did lose Jordan Buesa for the rest of the period after he was checked off the puck to no penalty.

The two sides headed in level at the second intermission after a scoreless middle frame, although Bobby Farnham perhaps should have done better after he seized on a Morrison error but couldn't force it into the empty net.

Patrick Mullen thought he had the go-ahead goal early in the third when he walked in from the left circle and cranked one off the bar and away, with the video review confirming that the shot hadn't sneaked in.

At the other end, Finucci thought he might have his second of the game, and a winner for the visitors, when he went on the clean breakaway, only to be denied by a massive stop from Owen, who thrust out a pad to deflect the puck to safety.

And that prefaced Morgan's winner, the winger set up beautifully by Pearce for the finish, and when Goodwin slid in the empty-netter with 1:20 remaining for the short-handed tally after the Giants' penalty kill came up huge, that was game over.

Belfast Telegraph