Belfast Telegraph

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Stars shot down as Giants gear up for play-off with slick victory

Belfast Giants 8 Dundee Stars 5

By Stuart McKinley

The Belfast Giants responded to Saturday night's 8-1 defeat at the hands of the Cardiff Devils by notching up an eight-goal haul of their own in a high-scoring end to the regular season.

Sebastien Sylvestre knocked in a hat-trick, while Blair Riley, Darcy Murphy, Spiro Goulakos, Jonathan Ferland and Brendan Connolly were also on the scoresheet as the Giants beat the Dundee Stars 8-5 at the SSE Arena.

The Giants will now face Nottingham Panthers in the play-off quarter-finals.

The first leg is in Belfast on Friday with the return clash on Sunday.

It will be a repeat of the Challenge Cup semi-finals when the Giants overcame the Panthers.

Although they dominated from early on it took more than 10 minutes for the Giants to take the lead.

Murphy's shot was saved by Dundee goaltender Craig Holland and Riley was on hand to tap home the rebound.

The Giants then took a firm grip of the game with three goals in less than three minutes.

Connolly set up Sylvestre for his first one - a two-on-one breakaway at 16:10 and 49 seconds later Murphy tipped in Kevin Raine's effort to make it 3-0.

The goal-rush continued when Sylvestre doubled his tally after being set up by Brandon Benedict and Matt Towe at 18:54.

Dundee gave themselves a foothold in the game 86 seconds into the second period when Johan Andersson pulled a goal back. It looked like the second period would end 4-1, but three seconds before the buzzer - and 29 seconds into a powerplay - Goulakos netted from Riley's pass to restored the Giants four-goal lead.

Dundee were first to score in the third period too - on a powerplay of their own - when Lukas Lundvald Nielsen struck a powerful effort past Giants stand-in goaltender Andrew Dickson at 42:25.

The Giants then scored three unanswered goals to put the game beyond any doubt.

Sylvestre was the provider for Ferland to score on a powerplay at 48:21, as he sent on a pass from Goulakos.

It was then Goualkos who set up Connolly for the Giants' seventh goal at 52:19 and two minutes later Connolly was the man who linked the play from Benedict to send Sylvestre through to complete his hat-trick at 54:16.

Dundee weren't about to roll over though.

Just 11 seconds later Nielsen set up Jordan Cowie to score their third of the game and there were two more goals to come in the final 90 seconds.

Johan Andersson netted from Brian Hart's assist at 58:38 and then Cody Carlson struck the Stars' fifth 42 seconds from the end.

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