Dundee Stars 2, Belfast Giants 4 – Challenge Cup
The Belfast Giants started their defence of the Challenge Cup with a trip to face Omar Pacha’s Dundee Stars. The same fixture that opened last years season was a convincing win for the Stars, this time the Giants exacted revenge.
Giants started on the front foot and it was Jim Vandermeer who opened the scoring after only 41 seconds, firing home a feed from Paul Swindlehurst. The Giants were in complete control of the opening 10 minutes of the game putting a lot of pressure on Pontus Sjorgen in the Stars net.
Yet in an opening period beset with Giants penalty trouble, the visitors were able to weather the storm after Colin Shields and Patrick Dwyer were sent for 2min, frustration taking the former NHLer and giving the Stars a 5 on 3 chance that the Giants dealt with before doubling their lead.
David Rutherford, who had a good chance minutes earlier, finished to put the Giants 2-0 up. Curtis Leonard, who picked up an assist on the Rutherford goal, reacted to an off the puck hit in the corner, feeding Lukas Neilson his dinner to fulfil two thirds of a Gordie Howe.
Stars were able to hit back with a well worked goal in front of Beskorowany’s net, Fabrizio Ricci finishing from a feed by Jordan Cownie.
And the Stars leveled proceedings only 33s into the 2nd period, Matt Marquardt’s shot from the right zipped by Beskorowany to make it 2-2. Omar Pacha would be the happier of the two coaches as the Stars frustrated any attempt on a, rare, forecheck by the Giants and limited the chances ont heir own net.
They weren’t able to totally shut down the visitors however, a shot from right of the point by Kendall McFaull was tipped on the edge of the crease by Kyle Baun and gave the Giants a 3-2 lead at the end of the 2nd.
Baun was to extend the lead for Belfast in the 3rd period, Lewis Hook and Curtis Leonard with the apples as Bauns shot from the right slipped by Sjorgen, kicking the water bottle in the air, to make it 4-2 with a little under 10 mins to go.
Giants kept the pressure and the tempo high. But a late Curtis Leonard slashing call gave the homeside hope of a comeback. Omar Pacha choosing to pull his netminder on the PP and chase the goals to tie level.
And despite the metal work being struck at both ends, the scoreboard stayed as it was and the Giants opened the season and the Challenge Cup with 2 points.
Adam Keefe brings his team down the road to Kircaldy to face the Fife Flyers tomorrow night, also in the Challenge Cup.