The Stena Line Belfast Giants defeated Croatian champions Medvescak Zagreb in an impressive display on the opening night of the International Ice-Hockey Federation Continental Cup Semi-Final group in Belfast.
Tyler Beskorowany posted a shutout, turning away 34 shots with as goals from Jim Vandermeer, Lewis Hook, Dustin Johner and Pat Dwyer helped the Giants to a win in the first of three games in as many nights at The SSE Arena.
Missing for the Belfast side were Colin Shields, Jonathan Ferland, Matt Towe, Andrew Dickson, Guillaume Gelinas and Francis Beauvillier.
The Giants win sees the Belfast side sit joint-top of the Semi-Final group following GKS Katowice of Poland’s 4-0 win against Ritten of Italy earlier on Thursday.
Vandermeer Puts Giants Infront
Netminders Tyler Beskorowany and Vilim Rosandic shut the door for the majority of the opening period, however it would be the hosts who took a late lead.
Pat Dwyer’s clever play saw the forward pick out an onrushing Jim Vandermeer who finished well into the Medvescak net with only 15 seconds left on the clock.
Hook Doubles Giants Advantage
Belfast picked up where they left off in the middle period and doubled their lead early in the second. Dwyer was, again, the provider and this time fed the puck to Lewis Hook to cooly slot home past Rosandic.
Dustin Delivers In Final Period
Dustin Johner opened his Continental Cup account at 49:24, pulling a classy move on the Medvescak netminder, assisted by Hunter Bishop.
Pat Dwyer capped a magnificent performance with a goal of his own, rounding off the Giants scoring at 58:45, assisted by Kyle Baun.
Stena Line Belfast Giants 4-0 Medvescak Zagreb (Croatia)
Giants Man of the Match
#34 Tyler Beskorowany (34 saves)
The Giants will turnaround quickly as they face Italy’s Ritten Sport on Friday night at The SSE Arena, face-off 7pm. Friday’s early game sees Medvescak Zagreb take on GKS Katowice at 3pm.
Belfast’s final group game comes on Saturday night against GKS Katowice of Poland, face-off 7pm also. That game follows the clash of Ritten Sport vs Medvescak Zagreb.
Tickets will be on sale all day at The SSE Arena Box Office, in person or by calling (028) 9073 9074) as well as online from ticketmaster.ie.