Flames weathered a ‘bend but don’t break’ 3rd, and Eamon McAdam made 48 saves, including 20 in the 3rd alone, to backstop the Flames to a 4-2 win over the Giants in Belfast.
Peter Crinella opened the Flames account at 9:02. Scott Conway replied in the 13th minute to pull the hosts even, but a Daniel Tedesco strike just inside the period’s final 2 minutes had Flames in front.
Early in the 2nd Johan Eriksson had the only goal of the middle set and Spectrum’s men went to the 3rd on the good side of a 2 goal difference.
Time was getting thin in the final frame with Flames on the back foot, surrendering 21 shots to only 4 taken in the final 20 minutes, but still holding a multi goal difference until just under 4 minutes from time when Colby McAuley pulled Giants within a single. Less than 2 minutes from the end, offsetting penalties would close the game at 4 on 4, but Giants needing a goal pulled their netminder in favour of an extra skater and Sam Marklund took advantage to bag the 4th and secure a Flames win.
Peyton Jones in the Belfast net made 20 saves on 23 shots he faced.
“To my recollection, unless I am mistaken, we can literally count on one finger how many times we have won here in Belfast in the last 4+ seasons, so any time you come away with points in what has been by a mile been our most unsuccessful road trip time after time, you have to be thrilled,” said Paul Dixon.
“We did a good job in the 1st and 2nd. They have a very talented team, and we were able to play sensibly and much more evenly with them while also taking our chances. In the 3rd, we sat back way too much, no doubt about that. That wasn’t planned but the sense of being in a position to hold on for a win that has rarely presented itself on this journey maybe put guys in a defensive mode that is not really a good way to play. Better to play in the other team’s end rather than your own, whether you have a lead or not.”
“Eamon was there to hold it down in the 3rd and he did a great job to make sure they would not pull the game all the way back despite the enormous pressure.”
“It’s great to get a win here, and also maybe good to have learned something we don’t want to repeat too often in late stages of play despite getting a huge win. We will feel pretty good about this on the way home, but right back at it to get ready for Coventry on Wednesday.”