A mixed weekend from the Belfast Giants who had a tough night in Braehead against the Glasgow Clan before bouncing back in Manchester where Darcy Murphy put four goals by the Storm in a 6-4 victory.
The Clan took the spoils on Saturday night hot off an OT victory in Cardiff that knocked last season’s finalists out of the Challenge Cup. That hot streak of form continued as they took on the Giants less than 24 hours and 371 miles later. Former Belfast Giant, Craig Peacock was to opening e scoring with the only goal in the first period.
Giants controlled the 2nd with goals form Hunter Bishop and Darcy Murphy to take a 2-1 lead with 20 to go.
However the final session belonged to the home team. Peacock picked up is second of the game, while Zack Fitzgerald was to gain the game winner, before Travis Erhardt ended proceedings with the empty netter to close out the game 4-2. Notable also that all 3 of the the Clan’s 3rd period markers were assisted by another former Giants in Brendan Connolly.
A great couple of nights for the Clan, taking the scalps of arguable the EIHL’s two strongest teams. Adam Keefe’s side had a trip down the M6 and the first of a 3 game series against the Manchester Storm as a means of redemption for Saturday’s failings.
And redemption they achieved, but not without minor falters. Evan Richardson and Luke Moffat had the home team 2 goals to the good in under 5 mins. Yet Giants heads cleared and they began to put the game back to the Storm. Before the period was out David Rutherford, Dustin Johner and Darcy Murphy had both over-turned the Storm lead and given the visitors a 1 goal advantage into the break.
In a nip and tuck game, the 2nd period was opened by Evan Richardson’s 2nd of the match, again catching the Giants cold at the start of the period to level the game. However 2 goals by Darcy Murphy, the second off a wonderful feed by Josh Roach for the hat-trick, restored and strengthened the Giants grip on the game.
Storm had not given up however, and once again as the 3rd period began they caught the Giants with an early goal. This time the excellent Ciaran Long further stamping his claim on a GB place this spring firing home a short-handed marker on the break away past Tyler Beskorowany.
With the game now having a 1 goal deficit, Hunter Bishop was sent for an early shower having been sentenced to a 5+Game penalty for elbows in an altercation on the floor with Linden Springer. The Giants were under the cosh with a 5 minute major to kill and the Storm’s tails high looking for the equaliser.
It was, however an equaliser that never came, and despite the Giants having to kill a careless Too Many Men penalty in the dying minutes, Darcy Murphy was to get his 4th and seal the points. Felix-Antoine Poulin not noticing the lingering Giants forward as he put a pass behind his own empty net directly to Murphy’s stick who finished the game 6-4.
Giants will face the Storm once again this Friday back at the SSE Arena in the first of a double header against Ryan Finnerty’s side. But being without a mid-week game for the first time in almost a month, the Giants players will be relishing the rest as the Christmas period looms large.
Still atop the EIHL, Adam Keefe will hope that the forthcoming run of home games are a welcome respite from the persistent travel schedule that the Giants have successfully weathered in the last two months.
PODCAST: Home At Last – This Week’s A View From The Bridge has Hunter Bishop answer your Fan Agenda questions and give us an insight to his career. We dial up Simon in Spain, look back over the weeks games and discuss the Player of the Month champion.
A View From The Bridge Podcast, Official Podcast of the Belfast Giants, part of Kingdom Of The Giants.
Words: Patrick Smyth Video: Clan TV
Audio: AVFTB Pics: Glasgow Clan / Manchester Storm