Giants Come Back To Take Lead Into Semi-Final Second Leg
Whatever people thought of the Giants’ early season performance, their views must have changed by now. The team’s consistency level has risen considerably.
Going to Cardiff to ice in the Devils’ den was a challenging mission. However the Giants came away with an awesome result after being down two goals. The Belfast out-fit dug deep to come back with a great 5-4 win against the red hot Cardiff team in the first leg of the Challenge Cup Semi-Final.
Jackson Whistle, starting in net for the Giants was the busier of the two netminders during the opening period as the Devils outshot the visitors 9-6.
Ben Bown in the Devils net
Cardiff’s Layne Ulmer took advantage of a powerplay mid-way through the first period when he scored just pasted the midway point, assisted by Andrew Hotham and Joey Martin.
The Devils struck again when Gleason Fournier doubled the lead when he fired an unstoppable wrist shot high into the Giants’ net, assisted by Joey Haddad and Patrick Asselin.
The Giants showed character to respond almost immediately and cut the Devils’ lead in half. Colin Shields was the marksman on the powerplay, redirecting Derrick Walser’s pass into the net with just over two minutes left in the opening period.
Chris Higgins (68) scores
The second period witnessed Guillaume Doucet restoring the Devils’ lead, assisted by Scott Hotham at 2-2. That was when the Giants’ real fight back kicked in with Chris Higgins scoring a fine individual goal to make the score 3-2.
The see-saw battle reverted back to Cardiff when they made it a 4-2 game right at the end of the second period when Joey Martin scored on a breakaway with just one second left on the game clock to end the second period
Colin Shields (19) scores his second goal ofthe contest
The third period saw the reverse of the Giants’ fortune when Colin Shields scored his second of the game once again teaming up with Derrick Walser to bring the Giants back to within one goal of the Devils.
Brandon Benedict (26) always works hard
It took less than two minutes before the Giants were back on level terms when Brandon Benedict scored unassisted six and a half minutes into the third period.
Jim Vandermeer (9) with a group of Giants celebrated the winning goal
Drama was building throughout the final period with each team trying to find the winning pass or shot to settle the contest. The game clock was ticking away with less than a minute left in the contest when Jim Vandermeer fired the puck into the Devils’ net with a slap shot from the blue line. This was on the powerplay assisted by Chris Higgins and Michael Forney to close the game out in sensational style.
Mark Garside (7) had another good game
The final round of the two legged Challenge Cup Semi Final between the Giants and Devils will take place in Belfast on Wednesday 8th February, face-off at 700 PM at Belfast’s SSE Arena. The Giants secure a one-goal lead into next Wednesday’s second leg in Belfast.
So the final score was Cardiff Devils 4-5 Stena Line Belfast Giants with the Giants’ Man of the Match being #19 Colin Shields
Written by Wayne Hardman
Photo: Helen Brabon