The Stena Line Belfast Giants skated to a 7-2 win over the Cardiff Devils in front of the biggest crowd of the season, with just under 5,000 people jamming into the Odyssey Arena on Saturday Night. A dominant performance and a 4 goal second period for the home side gives the Giants the momentum as they head into Cardiff on Sunday Night for a re-match against the Devils.
Colin Shields tipped in a Jeffrey Szwez shot to open the scoring at 13:15 of the first period but 2 minutes later the Devils had tied it up courtesy of Mac Faulkner on the powerplay. The scoreline after 20 minutes was 1-1 with some stellar saves at both ends of the ice but the second period was all Giants.
Robbie Sandrock scored a signature Sandrock goal, blasting home a cannon from the point for his 11 goal of the season after Evan Cheverie won the faceoff in the Devils zone back onto the stick of Sandrock. The goal came at 6:28 of the second period, and from there the Giants never looked back.
Jeffrey Szwez scored his first of the game and 18th of the season at 12:03 when linemate Dustin Whitecotton places a perfect pass onto his stick as Szwez skated in on the Devils goal and blasted it past Phil Cook in net for Cardiff to make it 3-1.
Whitecotton and Szwez then teamed up to set up linemate Shields for his second goal of the game and 12th of the season at 15:12 to make it 4-1. Next it was Darryl Lloyd who picked up a bouncing puck in front of the Devils net and hammered home his 5th of the season with less than 2 minutes to play in the middle period to make it 5-1 after 40 minutes of play.
Szwez scored his 2nd of the game two minutes into the third period before the Devils got one back from Tomas Kurka at 5:07 of the third, but the Giants did one final piece of damage when Chris Higgins made it 7-2 with a powerplay goal at 9:41.
With 10 minutes remaining in the game, Andrew Dickson replaced Stephen Murphy in net for the Giants much to the delight of the home crowd. Dickson stopped all 4 shots he faced in the final minutes and the Giants skated away with a 7-2 victory. Szwez picked up Man of the Match for the Giants with a 4-point night (2 goals and 2 assists) while linemate Colin Shields scored twice and set up another and Whitecotton picked up 3 assists.