The Stena Line Belfast Giants defeated the second placed Cardiff Devils 5-2 in Belfast on Wednesday. Goals from Rutherford, Radja, Forney, Wilson and Keefe gave the Giants the win and sees them remain in fifth place, level on points with the fourth placed Panthers and one point behind the Braehead Clan in third.
The Giants began the game without scratches Derrick Walser, Brandon Benedict and Johan Ejdepalm with Craig Peacock suspended. In an even opening period – the home side edged it thanks to a David Rutherford goal at 13:51 as the puck squeezed past Ben Bowns in the Cardiff goal, assisted by James Desmarais and Mike Radja.
Joey Martin equalised early in the second period for the Devils with a nice finish, assisted by Andrew Lord and Tomas Kurka at 24:14. Although soon after it was 2-1 to Belfast as Mike Radja gave the Giants the go-ahead goal at 26:21.
Michael Forney extended the Giants lead at 32:32, assisted by Mike Wilson and Jim Vandermeer to give the hosts a 3-1 lead after two periods of play.
Into the third period and another goal for the home side at 53:47 left the Devils with a lot to do as Mike Wilson scored on the powerplay, assisted by Mitch Ganzak and David Rutherford, to put his side 4-1 ahead.
Joey Martin pulled one back for the Devils with just under five minutes remaining as the visitors pulled their netminder for an extra attacker.
However, the win was sealed for the Giants as the Captain Adam Keefe scored an empty net goal while shorthanded at 57:57 to give the hosts a 5-2 win at The SSE Arena, Belfast.
Stena Line Belfast Giants 5-2 Cardiff Devils
Giants Man of the Match:
#50 Matt Nickerson