Belfast Telegraph

Vandermeer strikes to keep Belfast Giants on a roll

Edinburgh Capitals 3 Belfast Giants 4

By Stuart McKinley

Jim Vandermeer's third-period strike secured a double scotch on a four-point weekend for the Belfast Giants.

The former NHL veteran hit the winner with less than seven minutes to go to complete a 4-3 win over the Edinburgh Capitals on a night when two defencemen stepped up to the plate.

Ryan Martinelli scored his first Giants goal of the season to get the team going early on and after the Capitals brought it back to 3-3 in the closing stages, it was Vandermeer who netted the winner 90 seconds later.

The margin of victory could - and probably should - have been greater for the Giants, but Darcy Murphy failed to convert a penalty shot and captain Blair Riley spurned a great opportunity in front of an empty net in the last minute.

After having to fight their way back from 3-0 down against Braehead Clan on Saturday night, this time it was the Giants who came out flying and they were ahead after only 40 seconds.

Colin Shields' shot was saved by Edinburgh goaltender Jordan McLaughlin and Martinelli, who scored four times last season, snapped up the rebound to break his duck for this season.

A good start turned into a great start when the Giants doubled their lead with just 1:22 on the clock. This time Steve Saviano broke away and finished superbly with a great solo effort.

Edinburgh rallied and they drew level after scoring two goals in little more than three minutes just after the midway point of the first period.

Alexander Islamov finished off good work from Tyler Plews and Callum Boyd at 10:13 and the scores were tied when Harry Ferguson netted at 13:34.

Murphy looked odds on to restore the Giants' lead on a breakaway midway through the second period only to be taken down on his way to goal.

Referee Toby Craig rightly awarded a penalty shot, putting Murphy in a one-on-one battle with McLaughlin.

The Giants forward beat the Edinburgh goaltender with his shot, but agonisingly saw the puck rattle off a post amid claims that it had crossed the line and come back out.

The Giants did get their noses in front again on a powerplay at 33:34 when Matt Bisonnette scored his first goal for the side, getting the end of his stick onto Shields' shot to take the puck past McLaughlin.

The Giants had just killed a penalty against John Kurtz when the Capitals got a deserved equaliser midway through the third period when Igor Valeyev found the bottom corner of Jackson Whistle's net at 51:45.

Presented with a powerplay opportunity less than a minute later, the Giants took full advantage and clinched a fourth successive victory.

Saviano sent the puck back to Vandermeer as he came forward onto the blueline and his shot from distance flew into the net at 53:15 to win the game.

Belfast Telegraph

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