Two David Rutherford goals and another from Michael Forney gave the Stena Line Belfast Giants a deserved 3-2 overtime win in their opening Elite League game of the season on the road in Coventry on Sunday. With the Blaze and Giants tied at 2-2, Rutherford scored the winning goal 50 seconds into the overtime period, assisted by James Desmarais, to give the Belfast side two wins in as many nights.
The opening period of play saw the Giants control much of the possession however Blaze goalie Brian Stewart stood tall and kept the score at 0-0. However Mark Garside hit the post late in the period as the Giants turned up the pressure on their hosts.
At 30:57 the deadlock was broken as David Rutherford, assisted by James Desmarais, ripped a shot that flew into the Blaze net off the crossbar. However less than three minutes later, the home side were level as Josh Godfrey equalised while on the Powerplay.
The Giants hit back with their own Powerplay effort as Michael Forney, assisted by Chris Higgins and Steve Saviano, scored his third goal of the weekend as the visitors regained the lead with 62 seconds left in the second period.
Jordan Pietrus ensured this game would go to overtime as he equalised for the Coventry Blaze once more with the hosts’ second Powerplay goal of the game at 46:04.
The Game Winning Goal came at 60:50 as James Desmarais and David Rutherford combined for their second goal of the game, with Desmarais feeding the puck to Rutherford who finished well to claim the overtime win for the Giants.
Next up for the Giants is a home Challenge Cup clash against the Edinburgh Capitals on Saturdsy 17th September, face-off 7pm at The SSE Arena, Belfast before travelling to Scotland to face the Dundee Stars the following night at 6:30pm
Giants Man of the Match
#91 David Rutherford
Coventry Blaze 2-3 Stena Line Belfast Giants
FOUR. POINT. WEEKEND.👏👏👏👏
— Belfast Giants 🏒 (@BelfastGiants) September 11, 2016
Photo: Scott Wiggins