Belfast Telegraph

Poor Giants hit for six by red hot Blaze

Coventry Blaze 6 Belfast Giants 1

By Stuart McKinley

The Belfast Giants were hit for six as Coventry Blaze leapfrogged Adam Keefe's side to go third in the Elite League table.

After being caught cold as Coventry hit two goals in the opening 38 seconds, the Giants were never able to recover and a first-period goal from Brendan Connolly was all that they had to show for their efforts.

With goaltender Stephen Murphy and defensive pair Dustin Johner and Jim Vandermeer still missing through injury and forward Jonathan Ferland suspended the Giants were short on numbers never really got into the kind of flow that they needed.

Blaze got off to a flying start when Jordan Pietrus pushed the puck into Marc-Olivier Valleran and he provided the finish.

There was only 16 seconds on the clock and things got even better for Blaze just 22 seconds later. This time Brett Robinson set up Vallerand and he sent the puck past Jackson Whistle to double his own and his team's tally. A stunned Giants team tried to react and both Mark Garside and Sebastien Sylvestre went close, only to be denied by Coventry goaltender Kevin Nastiuk.

Blaze continued to threaten too, with a period of pressure in the Giants zone as Garrett Ladd and Vojtech Kloz threatened to add to the lead.

The Giants did get a foothold in the game at 14:46 and when the goal finally arrived it was worth the wait.

Captain Blair Riley picked up the puck behind his own net and took it forward before feeding Sylvestre. His pass found Connolly racing forward and picked up the puck before firing high into the Coventry net.

The Giants came out in the second period looking for the game-tying goal and enjoyed some pressure.

They came close to equalising only for Colin Shields' shot to clip a post and after 10 minutes of frustration it was Blaze who found the net.

This time Vallerand turned provider, setting up Pietrus to score at 30:45.

Sylvestre then went one-on-one wit hNastiuk, but couldn't beat the Blaze goaltender.

Coventry thought they had made it 3-1 a minute before the end of the second period, but referee Mick Hicks deemed that the net was off its moorings before the puck crossed the line.

Ryan Dingle was close to adding a fourth for Coventry in the early minutes of the third period before two more quick-fire goals killed off any hopes of a Giants comeback.

Luke Ferrara and Ben Lake combined to set up Ross Venus at 44:27 and 85 seconds later Dingle and Adam Courchaine set up Ladd for the fifth.

There was still 14 minutes left, but even when the Giants found themselves with a powerplay opportunity with just less than six minutes to go it was Coventry who scored.

David Clements was in the box for a slashing offence when Dingle and Gaelan Patterson skated through on a two-on-one breakaway, with the former setting up the latter to score at 55:29.

 

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