Giants storm Manchester with five of the best to win 5-2
It could be said that Manchester flew in at the height of a winter storm though iced with a bench diminished by five players. To their credit they kept up the pressure. They consistently played hard to the final whistle.
However the fact is that the Giants secured a convincing 5-2 victory. Early on it only took five minutes for Belfast to score as they pressed the Storm deep into Manchester’s zone and Michael Forney netted, assisted by Chris Higgins.
Michael Forney (14) nets the Giants first goal against the Storm
The Giants’ dominance was illustrated just two minutes later when Blair Riley scored off a devastating strike netting their second goal of the evening. Despite being 2-0 down, the Storm continued to battle hard for their opening goal. They struggled to find the fluency that had been evident at home the previous evening against Cardiff.
Blair Riley (25) scores the Giants second goal against Manchester
Late in the opening period Belfast’s Colin Shields scored giving Belfast a 3-0 lead. With the clock ticking down in the period, and both teams serving a penalty the Storm’s Captain Trevor Johnson blasted home from the blue line to finally give them their opening goal.
Colin Shields (19) nets the Giants third goal against the Storm
In the second, Belfast came out fired up from the dressing room and again dominating play. Early on this was rewarded with Blair Riley grabbing his second of the night, and the Giants’ fourth. The flow of the match went end to end despite the score line. Manchester just would not roll over and give the victory to Belfast. Despite the big hits being dished out by both sides, neither was able to score again in the second 20 minutes.
Blair Riley (25) gets his second goal on the night and the Giants fourth
With the game clock ticking away in Belfast’s favour the Storm continued to push hard for their next goal, knowing another Giants’ goal would all but put the game out of reach.
Manchester was cheered on by the travelling fans, and some 100+ of them saw Adam Harding net the Storm’s second goal with just five minutes left on the game clock giving the Storm fans some hope of a late comeback.
Colin Shields (19) nets the Giants fifth goal
The hope was dashed with thirty-six seconds left to play in the period. Colin Shields grabbed his second of the evening, and the Giants’ 5th by slotting into the empty Storm net to secure the 2 points for the Giants who are still hoping to catch Cardiff for the Elite League title.
With that victory and the only game played by the Giants on the weekend they closed the gap on first place to just seven points. The Giants return to action again on Friday 10 February and Sunday 11 February at home in the SSE Arena Belfast against the Nottingham Panthers.
The final score was Belfast Giants 5-2 Manchester Storm and the Giants’ Man of the Match was awarded to #25 Blair Riley
Written by Wayne Hardman
|Cardiff *||46||28||7||3||8||73||3 Wins|
|Belfast *||46||26||5||4||11||66||3 Wins|
|Sheffield *||46||26||4||3||13||63||2 Losses|
|After Games||GARDINER CONFERENCE|
|Braehead **||28||20||0||1||7||41||1 Loss|
|** Gardiner Conference Champions|
|After Games||ERHARDT CONFERENCE|