Six of the best for the Belfast Giants as they send Clan home empty handed
Belfast Giants 6-1 Glasgow Clan
Looking to avoid three consecutive shut-outs at home for the first time in franchise history, the Belfast Giants responded with an offensively dominant outing at the SSE Arena.
Two goals in 47 seconds of the second period blew the game open and set them on their way to a four-goal middle frame in a 6-1 thrashing of the Glasgow Clan at the SSE Arena, completing a four-point weekend over Scottish opposition.
Brian Ward got the first of the second period at 11:38, the centre jamming the puck over the sprawled leg of Patrick Killeen at the crease for 2-1, and that was followed at 12:25 when Liam Morgan picked up the rebound off a Lewis Hook shot and deposited it into the empty cage.
The game belonged to second-line right-winger David Goodwin, however, as the American not only opened his tally for the Giants but he then doubled it with the final goal of that thrilling second period in a man of the match display.
It was Goodwin who opened the Giants' account at 14:33 of the first period, the winger pouncing on a loose puck in the mid-slot and going top shelf on Killeen - 14 saves - to break the Giants' scoring duck at home at an eye-watering 145:56.
And having broken his own duck with his new team, the St Louis native then made it a double with three seconds remaining to the second intermission, going on the break with Morgan and taking the dished pass at the back door for the tap-in, ending Killeen's night.
"I feel like every game I've been getting a bit more confident. The SSE Arena is starting to feel a bit more like home for me. Luckily I've been able to get rewarded tonight," said Goodwin.
"The last few games I felt like I was getting a lot of looks, and if I kept doing what I was doing I was going to get one. Thankfully tonight I was able to get two.
"I was looking for three but I'll settle for two!"
Head coach Adam Keefe will no doubt be delighted to see his side return to peak capacity from an attacking sense as they go to 14-8-2 in the league, aided by 23 saves from netminder Shane Owen, staying third but just two points now behind leaders the Sheffield Steelers.
It had been a game that threatened to go a completely different direction, too, Glasgow taking the lead and ringing the iron with their first two shots of the game in a nervy start for the hosts.
Scott Jacklin had forged the Scots ahead at just 51 seconds into the game, getting the tip on Travis Ehrhardt's point shot to beat Owen low for 1-0, and then it was Ehrhardt himself who cranked a wrister off the crossbar mere seconds later to
But the Giants weathered the early storm and after Goodwin had pulled them level, they got to work in a fantastic middle period from an attacking sense.
"I thought we had a great first shift, then they came down our end and gave one up early. But the guys stayed composed and kept rolling there even though we weren't getting rewarded for it," said head coach Keefe.
"In the second period we got rewarded for our efforts, and in the third period I thought we were great too and closed the game out well. We just frustrated Glasgow by not letting them get any life back into the game."
After Ward and Morgan had got them two goals to the good, Bobby Farnham added a fourth at 16:20 of the second frame, the winger with his 10th of the season as he diverted in a sublime cross-net pass from Liam Reddox at the back door to make it 4-1.
Goodwin added his second right at the end of the second period to force Killeen out of the game, and his replacement Jordan McLaughlin did at least stem the tide for the visitors, making 18 saves and only conceding one to round out the night, but by then the damage had already been done by the dominant Giants.
That third period strike came from Jordan Smotherman, who rocketed one off the crossbar and in at 11:44 of the final frame to wrap up the scoring and put the cap on a fine night for the hosts.
The scoreline will probably allow them to overlook an 0-for-3 powerplay for one week at least, however the penalty kill was again strong at 2-for-2 on the night.
"I think we played with five guys connected throughout the ice tonight. That's good to see, the good support from one end to the other," added defenceman Ryan Lowney.
"This was a big confidence builder for us. We needed it big. Now it's up to us to keep it going."
The Giants are back in action on Wednesday night in the second leg of their Challenge Cup quarter-final against the Cardiff Devils at the Viola Arena looking to overturn a 1-0 deficit.
Belfast Telegraph Digital