Sublime Belfast Giants seize commanding lead in quarter-final with Dundee Stars demolition
Dundee Stars 0-8 Belfast Giants
The Belfast Giants will take a eight-goal lead back to Belfast for the second leg of their Challenge Cup quarter-final with the Dundee Stars after they dominated the Scots 8-0 in their own arena in the first leg.
Tyler Beskorowany kept his second shutout in a Belfast Giants jersey, while David Rutherford and Kyle Baun scored a brace of goals each to almost effectively guarantee the Giants' place in the semi-finals, barring a miraculous second leg collapse.
Having killed off an early five-on-three penalty against them, the Giants took the lead at 8:01 when David Rutherford dangled and finished past Dundee netminder Craig Holland, with the winger adding a second at 12:13 to double the lead with a smart finish from the right wing.
The lead would be three at the first intermission as Belfast capitalised on a five-on-three powerplay and Kyle Baun finished off Patrick Dwyer's precision pass at the backdoor at 15:32.
Jonathan Ferland perhaps should have done better when he fired wide from in close, but he wouldn't have to wait long in the second period for a goal as he batted in a rebound from a Josh Roach shot on the powerplay at 24:30.
Holland produced an excellent stop five-hole to deny Blair Riley on the breakaway before Lewis Hook made it five at 28:08 when he blocked a shot at the blueline and returned it for the goal, with Hunter Bishop scoring a superb solo effort shorthanded at 34:36 for the sixth.
By this stage Belfast weren't even celebrating their goals anymore, with a sheepish Baun adding his second - also shorthanded - at 35:51 when he was fed from behind the goal by Dustin Johner to take the game into the final period.
The Stars suddenly came alive to begin the third, with Mike Sullivan and Matt Marquardt both firing over when they should have worked an otherwise untested Beskorowany, before Jim Vandermeer scored the eighth at 45:12 with a shot from the blueline.
Fabrizio Ricci should have scored when he was left alone in the slot towards the end of the game, instead firing right into the midriff of Beskorowany, while Holland did produce one big stop late to deny Riley a goal as the Giants ensured they'll have a commanding lead for the second leg in two weeks' time.
Belfast Telegraph Digital