Belfast Giants Enjoy Seventh Win In A Row.
FRIDAY 31st December 2021, The SSE Arena, Belfast.
Belfast Giants 7 Dundee Stars 1.
The Stena Line Belfast Giants lowered the curtain on 2021 with an emphatic 7-1 win over the Dundee Stars at The SSE Arena on New Year’s Eve, with a hat trick from Captain Kevin Raine helping Adam Keefe’s side to their seventh consecutive league victory.
Sharing a Challenge Cup group with Dundee means the Belfast Giants have seen a lot of Omar Pacha’s men so far this season, but the latest instalment in a long line of lively battles didn’t have the spark of its predecessors. At least not initially.
The Giants were handed an opportunity to break their recent dry spell on the power play at 2 minutes as Charlie Combs sat for tripping, but a Cam Knight penalty 54 seconds later halted the attempt – his first of two interference calls (2:54 & 11:24).
David Goodwin sent a warning shot across Stars goalie Adam Morrison’s bow in the 14th minute, as JJ Piccinich pulled the puck back from behind the goal into the path of the Giants Captain in the low slot for a strong save.
However, Kevin Raine’s one timer from the right of the blue line at 18:10 connected with Goodwin’s stick on its way in to get the home side off the mark. (1-0)
With Markus Kankaanpera in the box for cross-checking, the utterly red-hot JJ Piccinich added a power play marker to his recent pile of points, ripping the puck from the left circle at 19:27 (Assist: Mark Cooper). (2-0)
The opening 10 minutes of the middle period was a quiet affair, save for a Toms Rutkis tripping call at 26:19. The rest of the period was anything but.
Tyler Soy managed to smuggle the puck past Adam Morrison from behind the net at 32:58, earning Jonathan Boxill his first point from a surprise return to Belfast over the Christmas period. (3-0)
David Goodwin promptly added a fourth at 35:00, cutting the Stars defencemen open with the help of Scott Conway and JJ Piccinich. (4-0)
Dundee’s frustrations began to boil over at 38:49 as Belfast’s Ben Lake tangled up with Markus Kankaanpera, dropping the gloves in the Giants zone for a quick bout that was more ‘takedown’ than ‘fight’.
Giants Captain David Goodwin rounded off the period by completing his hat trick with a second to spare, netting at 39:59 to put the game out of reach a period early. (5-0)
Jeff Baum added a sixth early in the period, netting a soft finish past Adam Morrison with the help of a Kyle Haas deflection at 41:26. This was Morrison’s last action of the game, and one he would have wanted back, as backup Brython Preece took over in goal for the Stars. (6-0)
Tyler Soy added a seventh for the Giants at 47:10, skating down the barrel of Preece and dangling it into the net for a beautiful individual finish and his second of the game (Assist: Ben Lake, Mark Cooper). (7-0)
The Stars’ frustrations continued to boil over as Alexandre Ranger was called for roughing from the bench at 50:41, with young upstarts Kell Beattie and Mack Stewart taking extended shifts on the Giants power play.
Sebastian Bengtsson’s consolation marker at 57:46 did very little to take the shine off a dominant Giants performance, and an emphatic win to close out the year. (7-1)
A busy week ahead for your Belfast Giants begins on Monday evening, as 2022 gets underway with a visit to the Nottingham Panthers. The Giants return home on Friday 7th January to face the Coventry Blaze at The SSE Arena (face off 7pm), before taking to the road to take on the Fife Flyers in Scotland on Saturday 8th January. Tickets for next Friday’s home game are ON SALE HERE!