Reddox hat-trick sends Belfast Giants into Europe after undefeated pre-season
The Stena Line Belfast Giants ended pre-season undefeated with their second win of the weekend against Herning Blue Fox of Denmark.
A hat-trick from Liam Reddox and goals from Ben Lake, Jesse Forsberg and Patryk Wronka made it four pre-season wins in-a-row for the Giants.
The Giants will go into their debut Champions League campaign high on confidence, with Adam Keefe's side only six days away from their opening game when they face Bili Tygri Liberec of Czech Republic on Thursday 29th August before taking on Germany’s Augsburger Panther on Saturday 31st August.
Shane Owen backstopped the Giants to Saturday's win with 24 saves as the Giants iced a full line up.
The Giants took the lead at 10:36 when Ben Lake got his fourth goal of pre-season, the Great Britain international firing home the rebound past Herning netminder Albert Adamsen after Lewis Hook couldn't force it in after two attempts of his own.
That advantage was doubled at 13:44 when the hosts went on the 5-on-3 powerplay and Jesse Forsberg got his first goal in a Giants jersey, the defenceman firing the puck to the back post where it deflected in off the skate of a Danish player.
Having been second best for the majority of the first period, Herning were offered a lifeline early in the second period when a turnover at the Giants' blue-line allowed Danish international Morten Poulsen to finish back-handed past Owen at 25:17.
The Giants struck back quickly as Liam Reddox got his first of the evening at 30:16, Adamsen unable to hold onto a shot from Patrick Mullen and the winger turning it in on the doorstep.
But the visitors brought it back to within a goal yet again as they struck on the powerplay with Paul Swindlehurst in the box for high sticking, Markus Jensen centering the puck for Poulsen to turn it into the net for his second of the night at 32:07.
Having not scored in the opening three games of pre-season, Reddox grabbed his second shortly after his first, coming at 35:53 when he was the one to force the puck in at the crease following a scramble around the Herning net.
And the popular winger completed his hat-trick at 38:20 when he found some space in the slot and managed to get his stick in the right position to redirect a shot past the unsighted Adamsen into the bottom corner to put the Giants 5-2 ahead and complete his hat-trick.
However, the Danish visitors refused to lie down and they struck back just six seconds after Reddox rounded off his treble, winning the face-off from the restart from which Cameron Brace smashed in a shot from the right circle at 38:26.
A big final period saw the Giants begin to control proceedings again as Herning visibly tired and it looked like they could run up a big score late in the game only for some strong netminding from Adamsen denying them further goals.
However they would get a late goal to put some gloss on the scoreline, Adamsen failing to hold onto a shot from Matt Pelech and allowing the puck to fall behind him, which allowed Patryk Wronka to steal in and prod it over the line to round off the scoring at 58:58.
Belfast Telegraph Digital