The visiting Belfast Giants scored a last minute pair of empty net goals to put a bit of distance in the scoring of a closely contested evening and they ultimately left Spectrum with a 4-1 win.
Giants opened the scoring just over 6 minutes in when the puck reversed direction behind the net and Darcy Murphy jammed it in at the side of the goal. At 11:52, the home team pulled level when Brett Ferguson buried a short rebound, and the even split of the 2 goal share carried over into the middle stanza.
It looked like the 2nd might wind down with no change to the scoring but a late period Paul Swindlehurst strike had the Northern Irish club holding a 2-1 lead to start the 3rd.
A back and forth 3rd period didn’t lose any pace and both teams continued to take chances, but the Flames were unable to draw even before removing Travis Fullerton to add an extra skater. Shortly into the effort to bring it level, and less than 60 seconds from the close of regulation, Blair Riley dumped the puck into the vacated net to guarantee the Giants win and David Rutherford rubbed salt in the wound when he added another into the unguarded cage.
“If we can put the result aside, it was a good game of hockey by two fast sides,” said Paul Dixon.
“It was one of those nights where scoring was really looking difficult, and we came close a few times to tying it, but just couldn’t get one to take.”
“We gave everything we could tonight against the league’s top team, and sometimes you just have to live with coming up a bit short.”
“We will re-group this week at training, look at a lot of good things we did this weekend, and try to make some adjustments where we can to see if we can get a result on Saturday when Nottingham Panthers drop in at Spectrum.”