The Stena Line Belfast Giants left it late to claim the two Challenge Cup points on offer with Derrick Walser’s game winning goal coming at 56:11 as the hosts won 4-1 against the Braehead Clan. Walter’s goal gave the Giants a 2-1 lead with Mitch Ganzak and Colin Shields following up with empty net goals.
Saturday’s game at The SSE Arena, Belfast started with all five teams in Challenge Cup Group A tied on four points in what is shaping up to be a tight season. The visitors opened the scoring with Thomas Nesbitt scoring past Stephen Murphy at 17:10 to send Clan’s large travelling support wild.
The second period was a scrappy affair with nine penalties called during a the 20 minutes of play, however it was the home side who livened things up with James Desmarais pulling the Giants level on the night at 37:35, scoring with a fine shot when one-on-one with Chris Holt in the Braehead goal.
The third period was end-to-end and the Giants were forced into a impressive penalty kill while Derrick Walser sat in the penalty box for four minutes. It was the player/coach himself who got the go-ahead goal, scoring on the powerplay at 56:11 to give the Giants a 2-1 lead.
Mitch Ganzak added the first of insurance goals, with a shorthanded empty net effort at 59:01 and then Colin Shields was awarded a penalty goal by Referee Tom Darnell after being cynically scythed down when clean through on the empty net goal.
Stena Line Belfast Giants 4-1 Braehead Clan
Photograph: Andy Gibson / Blacklab Photography