James Desmarais celebrates the Giants fourth goal of the night & what would turn out to be the game winning goal! Picture: Andy Gibson
Friday night saw the Stena Line Belfast Giants close the gap on the Elite League leading Nottingham Panthers with a 4-3 win at The SSE Arena, Belfast. With the game tied at 2-2 going into the final period, Mike Radja gave the Giants the go ahead goal before James Desmarais extended the lead to 4-2. A late David Ling goal for Nottingham could not stop the home side taking the win on the first of two home games in as many nights in Belfast.

Derrick Walser opened the scoring at 5:27 with a ripping snapshot past Miika Wikman in the Panthers net while shorthanded following nice work in the corner by James Desmarais. Jeff Dimmen equalised less than five minutes later to leave the score at 1-1 after 20 minutes.

Michael Forney gave the hosts the lead once again with a breakaway finish after a nice pass, once again, from James Desmarais at 4:41into the second period while on the powerplay. However, yet again, the visitors levelled – this time Andy Bohmbach struck on the powerplay at 36:58.

Into the third period and Mike Radja gave the Giants a one goal advantage when Chris Higgins found him in space at the back door at 49:11. Less than three minutes later, it was 4-2 – as James Desmarais fired into the top shelf from the circle to give the Giants some breathing space. David Ling scored just over 90 seconds later to close the gap – however the Giants held out and registered an important home win against the league leaders. Both sides meet in Belfast again on Saturday night – face-off 7pm at The SSE Arena, Belfast.

Final Score:
Stena Line Belfast Giants 4-3 Nottingham Panthers

Giants Man of the Match:
#14 Michael Forney