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Reddox, Hamilton among the goals as Giants bounce back from weekend loss with win at Flames

Guildford Flames 1-5 Belfast Giants


Belfast Giants' Liam Reddox (William Cherry/Presseye)

Belfast Giants' Liam Reddox (William Cherry/Presseye)

William Cherry/Presseye

Belfast Giants' Liam Reddox (William Cherry/Presseye)

Liam Reddox had a two-point night and Curtis Hamilton was on the scoresheet on his return to the line-up as the Belfast Giants provided the perfect response to Sunday's loss in Nottingham.

Reddox provided the assist for Liam Morgan's game-winner at 9:12 of the first period - his 11th of the season - and then added an insurance goal 11:43 into the middle frame in a commanding 5-1 win over the Guildford Flames at the Spectrum.

Having sat out at the weekend through injury, Hamilton announced his return to the line-up with his 20th goal of the season, grabbing the opener just 7:15 in, with Elgin Pearce adding his 10th of the campaign 2:27 into the third and David Goodwin rounding off the scoring with an empty-netter with 1:21 remaining.

Shane Owen added 25 saves and the penalty kill was an outstanding 6-for-6 - particularly coming up with a huge 5-on-3 kill late in the second period - in helping the Giants improve to 26-15-2 and cut the gap to the Sheffield Steelers at the top of the Elite League to three points.

As far as the performance went, head coach Adam Keefe got the ideal response to Sunday's worryingly below-par display against the Panthers with a much more rounded offensive display, out-shooting their hosts 30-26 and constantly working Flames backstop Travis Fullerton, who was also forced into 25 saves.

Ironically, Hamilton's return got off to a disastrous start compared to how the rest of it went, the winger taking a penalty just three seconds in, pinged for holding the stick off the opening face-off, but the Giants made the kill before going to work.

And it was was Hamilton who put them ahead at 7:15 after some tenacious work from Ben Lake earned the turnover off Brett Ferguson in the offensive zone, and Hamilton deposited a perfectly placed backhand over the shoulder of Fullerton for 1-0.

The lead quickly became two, this time Reddox going on the breakaway from neutral ice and although his initial shot between-the-legs was blocked by Fullerton, Morgan was following in to poke in the rebound to make it 2-0 at 9:12.

But as they say, you're most vulnerable when you concede, and that proved true for the Giants as, just 1:23 after doubling their lead, they found their advantage halved once more, T.J. Foster prodding in the rebound from Braylon Shmyr's shot to make it 2-1.

Both sides made kills early in the second period, Jesse Craige (cross-checking) heading off for Guildford and Paul Swindlehurst's interference call cut short when Kruise Reddick sat for slashing.

But once the two sides stopped trading penalties, the Giants kicked their offense up a gear, and after Matt Pelech fired just wide having been set away by Elgin Pearce, the visitors did indeed reclaim their two-goal lead.

Having come close earlier, this time it was Reddox who got the deciding touch, applying the tip-in at the crease to a shot from the blue-line and past Fullerton to make it 3-1 at 11:43 of the middle frame.

Belfast then had to produce a big penalty kill when down two men, with Bobby Farnham (abuse of official) and Ben Lake (slashing) both sat for minor penalties, but the special teams produced a stellar effort to play out both calls and reach the final period with that two-goal lead.

And the kill unit were rewarded for their hard work just 2:27 into the final period, Pearce snapping home from the right circle over the blocker side of Fullerton to make it 4-1 and ease any early nerves in the third.

Reddox nearly grabbed a second when he turned over the puck in neutral ice and bore down on Fullerton, but the netminder stood tall to make the stop and prevent the Giants winger from adding any more gloss to an already one-sided scoreline while Owen similarly did well to deny Foster a second on a breakaway.

When Lake took his second penalty of the night, a cross-check, late in the final frame, the Flames were ambitious in pulling Fullerton for the extra skater but that opened up the net for Goodwin to slide the puck the length of the ice for the empty-netter with 1:21 left to finish the night in style.

The Giants are back in action on Saturday in the first of two road games at the weekend when they go to Planet Ice Altrincham to take on the Manchester Storm (7pm).

Belfast Telegraph