Vandermeer facing a ban after fiery defeat to Blaze
Belfast Giants 1 Coventry Blaze 2
Round two of the Belfast Giants v Coventry Blaze weekend double-header is set to be a feisty encounter after a fiery ending to last night's first instalment.
A clash between Giants' Jim Vandermeer and Coventry's Matt Marquardt deep into the third period resulted in the Belfast man's involvement being brought to a premature end.
Vandermeer could now be a target when the teams meet again at the SSE Arena tonight, when the Giants will be going for revenge after going down 2-1.
Early goals in the first and second periods, from Robin Bergman and Matthew Selby, put Coventry in control and even though Colin Shields pulled one back for the Giants in the third period, they weren't able to find an equaliser.
Giants player-coach Derrick Walser was forced to do without captain Adam Keefe and his fellow forward James Desmarais, who joined David Rutherford on an ever-growing injury list.
There was at least some good news for Walser in that Chris Higgins and Alex Foster returned after missing out last weekend.
Coventry struck first, with just 4:05 on the clock. James Jorgensen and Marquardt were the men who worked the move to create the opportunity and Bergman snapped up the chance, beating Stephen Murphy, who was playing his third game in a row in the Giants goal.
Coventry doubled their lead at almost exactly the same stage of the second period.
Marquardt was involved again, this time as the man who provided the link between Russell Cowely and Selby, with the latter finishing at 24:12.
There was far more goalmouth action in the second period, but although the Giants had pressure, Coventry goaltender Brian Stewart was equal to everything.
Stewart was finally beaten in the fifth minute of the third period. Mark Garside, playing as a forward to cover for the injuries, set up his fellow Scot Shields to add another goal to his record tally for the Giants.
The incident that saw Vandermeer's night end early came at 53:11. He put in what was later deemed as a check from behind and Marquardt reacted angrily.
Vandermeer got the take down in the fight, but was also punished for instigating and he may be hit with a follow-up ban.
At that stage it was more important for the Giants that they didn't concede on the penalty kill and even when the tables were turned when they went on a powerplay in the final minute, there was no way past Stewart.