Visitors storm to victory as Giants slide
Belfast Giants 3-6 Manchester Storm
A second-period rally from the Belfast Giants wasn't enough to avoid slumping to a fourth defeat in their last six games as they were hit for six by Manchester Storm.
Trailing 3-0 after Storm got off to a flying start with three goals in the space of just over five minutes before the halfway point of the first period, the Giants were left with a lot of work to do if they were going to get anything out of the game.
The closest they got was when a goal from Sebastien Sylvestre and two from David Rutherford, with Luke Moffat replying for Manchester, bringing the Giants back to 4-3 after 33 minutes.
Storm extended their lead just two minutes later and then secured the points when Moffat completed his hat-trick in the third period.
The Giants are now nine points behind the Cardiff Devils at the top of the table.
The Giants began to give themselves a foothold in the game against the odds when they scored short-handed two minutes and four seconds into the second period when Sylvestre intercepted and skated in on goal before producing a classy finish.
Connolly was still sitting out when Storm responded just 43 seconds later, dealing a significant blow to the Giants comeback hopes.
Moffat finished for the second time in the game after being set up by by Dane Byers and Ryan Trenz.
There was still some fight in the Giants as first they hit the outside of a post before reducing the deficit to a single goal when Rutherford scored twice in 45 seconds.
It was game-on at that stage but Manchester stemmed the comeback when Ryan Trenz blasted home a powerful shot at 34:24.
The Giants did push on a powerplay, but when Sylvestre talked his way into a penalty Moffat completed his treble eight minutes from the end.