Giants are on a roll now!

Forney Hat-Trick turns the Clan’s encounter into a Giant win

The Giants’ consistent, winning roll continues against teams in the top end of the Elite League standing. That winning streak includes the first leg victory against the Devils away in Cardiff and following soon the second leg of the semi-final of the Challenge Cup in Belfast this Wednesday. All to be savoured before a possible final encounter against Sheffield, or Nottingham.

How good is that after a rather inconsistent start to the season?

derrick-walser-43Derrick Walser Giants Player Coach 

Derrick Walser, with his own-pick Giants’ team under his command has a strong chance of picking up a trophy in this campaign.

For sure there is a new buzz around the SSE Arena. Interesting to note how much that improved players’ attitude recognises that you ‘reap what you sow’. The increased number of travelling Giants’ fans too is testimonial to this positive attitude.

The Giants’ players have a new benchmark too to aim for, coming from behind in games because they believe in themselves as a team. Recognition that they can achieve no matter how difficult the task may seem.

Take the Giants game in Scotland against the Clan this past weekend. Down by two goals in the first three and a half minutes played, did they throw in the towel? Not likely! They rolled up their sleeves and started the come back.

Looking back at that action, after trailing 2-0 before most of the fans had sat down this frantic cross-conference contest saw the Clan net twice from Mike Hammond, then Scott Pitt. This doubled Braehead’s lead in a whirlwind start to the contest.

Michael Forney (14) facing off against the ClanMichael Forney (14) on faceoff duty against the Clan 

The Giants responded almost immediately, with Michael Forney opening the scoring for the visitors thirty-eight seconds on from Braehead’s second goal assisted by Giants Chris Higgins and Derrick Walser.

Belfast Giants v Braehead Clan - exhibition gameMichael Forney (14) battles with The Clan for possession 

It was that man Forney who scored yet again when the Giants drew level at 2-2. Belfast’s forward achieved this (and his team’s second of the game) assisted by Chris Higgins.

garside-stars-450x235-1Mark Garside (7) celebrates his goal 

The first period’s scoring was completed with just thirty-three seconds left on the game clock in the opening period when Mark Garside scored assisted by Chris Higgins and Michael Forney making it 3-2 to the Giants.

However the Clan had not thrown in the towel. Scott Pitt netted to equalize for Braehead, assisted by Mike Hammond and Matt Beca.

James Desnarais battle for the puck in front of the Clan's net

James Desmarais (79) battles Clan defender for the puck

The Giants then took advantage of a powerplay opportunity when James Desmarais fired his side into a 4-3 lead, assisted by Steve Saviano and Alex Foster.

Alex Foster (23) in action against the Clan

Alex Foster (23) played his part in the Giants viv=ctory over the Clan

Once again, in the seesaw battle for victory Braehead drew level as their Mike Hammond scored his second of the game, assisted by Scott Pitt and Zach Sullivan.

Elite Ice Hockey League - Belfast Giants vs Coventry Blaze

Michael Forney (14) finds the back of the net again

With less than five minutes remaining, the Giants got their decisive go-ahead goal. Michael Forney completed his hat trick, assisted by Chris Higgins and Derrick Walser, to win the game for the Giants.

So the Final Score ended at Braehead Clan 4-5 Stena Line Belfast Giants with the Giants Man of the Match awarded to #14 Michael Forney.

Belfast returned to action on Sunday for their second Elite League clash of the weekend in Scotland. The Edinburgh Capitals were the opponents.

No game is an easy contest in the Elite League these days however the Giants made swift work of the Capitals winning 8-3 on to complete a four point weekend.

Giants Jonathan Boxill  (89) scored against Sheffield

Jonathan Boxill (89) loves to score

The Giants achieved an array of goals from players Boxill, Higgins, Saviano, Keefe, Nickerson and Desmarais as well as two from Shields. This gave the Giants their second win in as many nights. With those two wins, the Giants matched the Cardiff Devils’ weekend results to remain one point behind the Elite League leaders

Colin Shields started the goal fest assisted by James Desmarais. The Giants’ lead was short-lived though as Jaroslav Hertl equalized twenty-two seconds later for the Capitals, assisted by Taylor MacDougall and Karel Hromas.

Shields during his Giant days

Colin Shields (19 got the Giants rolling 

Colin Shields grabbed his and his team’s second goal of the game with two and a half minutes left in the opening period. He deflected Derrick Walser’s shot past Capitals’ netminder Fullerton while on the powerplay.

 In response Jared Staal brought the Edinburgh Capitals level when his shot deflected into the Giants’ net early in the second period, assisted by Richards Grigors.

 The Giants grabbed their third goal of the game at 26:48 when Jonathan Boxill fired home, assisted by Derrick Walser and Matt Towe. Once again, the Edinburgh Capitals equalized when Jared Staal’s shot deflected off Matt Tipoff and squeezed into the Belfast net.

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Chris Hoggins (68) finds the back of the Capitals net

Chris Higgins pulled the Giants ahead with a fine unassisted goal when he rounded the Capitals’ netminder. Steve Saviano then extended the visitors’ lead to 5-3 in the last minute of the second period with a fierce one-timer on the powerplay, assisted by Michael Quesnele and Colin Shields.

adam-keefe-47

Giants Captain Adam Keefe (47)

Giants’ Captain Adam Keefe made it 6-3 when his wrist shot ripped into the Capitals’ net early in the final period. Matt Nickerson gave the Giants a four-goal advantage over the hosts when his slap shot screamed past netminder Fullerton, assisted by Mark Garside.

Nickerson then turned from scorer to provider when his assist led to the Giants’ 8th and final goal of the game, scored by James Desmarais. So the Final Score ended Edinburgh Capitals 3-8 Stena Line Belfast Giants with the Giants’ Man of the Match awarded to Captain #47 Adam Keefe.

This week beginning 06 February sees the Giants’ return to Belfast for two home games. First up on Wednesday 08 February is the Challenge Cup Semi-Final 2nd leg against the Cardiff Devils with the Giants 5-4 ahead from the 1st leg. Face-off is 7.00 PM at the SSE Arena, Belfast.

 

Then on Friday 10 February an Elite League clash against the Dundee Stars rounds off another week for the hard working Stena Line Belfast Giants.

 

 

Written by Wayne Hardman

 

Photographs attached by Al Goold

 

After Games LEAGUE STANDINGS
Played GP REG OT/PS OT/PS REG PTS CURRENT
5/02/17 Wins Wins Losses Losses STREAK
 Cardiff 38 22 6 3 7 59  4 Wins
 Belfast 39 22 5 4 8 58  6 Wins
 Sheffield 37 21 3 3 10 51  2 Wins
 Nottingham 36 15 4 5 12 43  2 Losses
 Fife 37 15 3 4 15 40  1 Win
 Braehead 39 17 1 3 18 39  2 Losses
 Manchester 37 14 1 5 17 35  2 Losses
 Coventry 40 10 5 3 22 33  1 Loss
 Dundee 38 8 4 5 21 29  2 Losses
 Edinburgh 37 9 4 1 23 27  1 Loss
               
After Games GARDINER CONFERENCE
Played GP REG OT/PS OT/PS REG PTS CURRENT
04/02/17 Wins Wins Losses Losses STREAK
 Braehead 23 16 0 1 6 33  1 Loss
 Fife 23 10 1 3 9 25  2 Losses
 Manchester 24 10 1 3 10 25  2 Wins
 Edinburgh 23 6 4 0 13 20  2 Wins
 Dundee 21 6 3 2 10 20  1 Loss
               
After Games ERHARDT CONFERENCE 
Played GP REG OT/PS OT/PS REG PTS CURRENT
5/02/17 Wins Wins Losses Losses STREAK
 Belfast 23 11 4 2 6 32  4 Wins
 Cardiff 22 11 3 3 5 31  2 Wins
 Sheffield 24 12 1 2 9 28  1 Win
 Nottingham 22 8 2 4 8 24  1 Loss
 Coventry 25 2 4 3 16 15  5 Losses

 

 

 

 

 

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