The Stena Line Belfast Giants came face to face against a strange case, that of the curse of the bizarre injury occurrence. Craig Peacock, Belfast’s Team GB power forward and hard working, highly effective goal scoring winger for the squad succumbed to a freak on-ice accident. More of this later.
Facing two winnable games in Scotland, the Giants went short benched. They were minus the teams leading point-getter Andrew Fournier, nursing an injury sustained against the Nottingham Panthers. (The Giants Medical Team has not been able to set a date for Fournier’s return to the ice).
And meanwhile better news on the Robby Sandrock injury though he did not make the road trip. Belfast Coach Doug Christiansen hopes to have the defenseman back in the Giants lineup sooner rather than later and stated, ”Robby Sandrock and Andrew Fournier are massive parts of our team. Fournier leads our team in plus/minus and has been one of our most consistent players. Sandrock is getting better and might play before Christmas.”
Previously, Christiansen realized that the rest of his team would have to step up to the mark on the Scottish game weekend. “Our team will be tested without two of our top players over the weekend on the road. We will need to play two excellent road games to have success”.
Fife showed better in the opening period before they went behind to a Craig Peacock special who came out of the penalty box unmarked, midway through the first period and gave the Giants their opening goal. The Flyers countered quickly to tie the game up 1-1, which ended the period with the Flyers outshooting the Giants 11 to 4.
The second period started but was brought to a swift halt when Belfast Giants forward Craig Peacock sent Bobby Chaumont over the boards in a legal ice hockey check. Bobby survived the encounter however it was Peacock who came off worse as Craig was caught by Chaumont’s skate. He was immediately taken to hospital after the collision where he received 29 stitches to the wound sustained on his face.
Once play resumed, the Flyers continued to force the play with Jason Pitton scoring his first goal of the night to put Fife out in front. In a tense struggle with only a single goal lead, together with the Giants still in disarray over Craig Peacock’s injury, Belfast soon fell victim to Pitton’s second and third goals to secure the victory for Fife in front of their season’s largest crowd.
Fife’s Player/coach Todd Dutiaume stated in a post game interview, “When we get a big crowd like we did, and we get them into the game, they are definitely a help and it makes it tough for a team to come back when the crowd are on top of you all night. When we took the lead we never looked back and we kept it solid for the full 60 minutes.”
Like any tide-turning event the Peacock injury will be remembered after last seasons freak injury to Benoit Doucet. Back then it seemed to bring a greater resolve to the whole Giants squad. Let us hope that this unfortunate event brings a similar outcome after the 1-4 loss to Fife Flyers.
The big question was could Belfast bounce back against a newly vibrant Capitals team? A team that had just secured their first road victory of the season against the highflying Sheffield Steelers and now too against the Giants, regrouping without two of their top forwards and a key defenseman.
The question was answered in style during the midway point of the opening period with Belfast’s Will Colbert putting the Giants in the lead whilst the Capitals tied it up through Curtis Leinweber.
Belfast showed new resolve by going back in front with Scott Champagne’s goal, and giving them the advantage going into the first period break.
The second session saw very few shots on the net by both sides though the Giants shot one that found its mark, and then going 3-1 ahead when Darryl Lloyd bulged the oppositions net. Capitals were never out of the contest however the Giants blue-line was proving a difficult place to invade.
The points went to the visitors after Noah Clark scored Belfast’s fourth ending the Capitals aspirations in this contest. So a brace of 4-1 outcomes after the weekends play: one for, the other against. Not the outcome Doug Christiansen and his men were planning, coming up to the make or break festive period and the deluge of up-coming games.
Will it be a problem for the Giants with fixtures arriving fast and furious over the festive period? Now missing three key squad members Christiansen will only want healthy players back on the bench and not want to see half fit players trying an early comeback.
However, it has to be good news for the Giants, whose aim is to repeat last season’s title conquest, that Robby Sandrock does not have to undergo surgery. However, Friday nights encounter against the Cardiff Devils will be a tough challenge for the under-strength Giants. The Cardiff Devils are only five points behind them with a game in hand and in fourth spot. Only eight points separates the top five teams in the Elite League.
Go Giants Go Written by Wayne Hardman
Elite Ice Hockey League Standings 2012-2013
GP W OTW OTL L Pts Streaks
Nottingham 22 12 5 1 4 35 6 wins
Belfast 22 13 1 5 3 33 1 win
Sheffield 22 9 5 1 7 29 2 losses
Cardiff 21 10 2 4 5 28 1 loss
Coventry 22 8 4 3 7 27 1 loss
Braehead 22 9 2 1 10 23 1 loss
Dundee 21 6 2 4 9 20 1 win
Fife 20 6 2 0 12 16 1 win
Hull 21 6 0 4 11 16 4 losses
Edinburgh 23 5 1 1 16 13 1 loss