The Stena Line Belfast Giants lost out to the Coventry Blaze on Sunday -5-1 the final score on a night that saw the home side out play the Giants, who still occupy 1st place in the standings despite the loss. The Elite League champions will be disappointed with Sunday’s result, although missing from the lineup tonight were line-mates Mike Kompon and Mark McCutcheon with new signing Kevin Westgarth due to arrive in Belfast in the coming days.
It was the Giants who started the game brightly, Kevin Phillips finishing in space at the back post for his first goal of the season when found by Ray Sawada to give the visitors a 1-0 lead after only 61 seconds. However only 68 seconds later, the Blaze were level, with Ben Arnt awarded the goal after his pass struck the back of Jeff Mason and deflected horribly into his own net. Ryan O’Marra, Blaze top scorer so far this season, continued his rich vein of form, giving his side the lead at 5:59 while on the powerplay.
The Coventry Blaze were spurred on by their home fans, desperate for a first win in five games, and they were rewarded again at 12:55 when Arnt scored his second of the night to extend his side’s lead to two goals. The Blaze furthered their lead less than five minutes later – this time it was through Rory Rawlyk, completing a great first period for the home side.
The Blaze outshot their opponents 13-7 in the second period as they continued to take their game to the Giants – with Stephen Murphy blocking shot after shot, keeping the visitors in the game, with the score 4-1 after 40 minutes completed.
The Giants began to get themselves back into proceedings in the third period, forcing Brian Stewart in the Coventry goal into action as the Elite League’s first-placed team searched for some momentum. However, against the run of play, the Blaze finished off the Belfast side to claim the two Elite League points, with Derek Lee hammering home from close range on the powerplay at 43:34.
Coventry Blaze 1-4 Stena Line Belfast Giants
The Stena Line Belfast Giants return to action on Saturday night at the Odyssey Arena, Belfast when they take on the Cardiff Devils, face-off 7pm. Good seats are still available for Saturday’s clash and can be purchased in person from all Ticketmaster Outlets or the Odyssey Arena Box Office, by calling (028) 9073 9074 or online at www.ticketmaster.ie.