The Stena Line Belfast Giants defeated the Nottingham Panthers 5-2 in a pulsating clash on Friday night in Belfast, the first of two meetings between the sides this weekend at The SSE Arena.
Jackson Whistle was in fine form in the Giants goal with Jonathan Ferland firing home the game winning goal in the middle period.
The Giants win pulls the Belfast side closer to the first placed Cardiff Devils who are five points ahead having played one game more.
Opening Period Battle In Belfast
The visitors opened the scoring early on when Mark Derlago netted after 64 seconds, assisted by Yann Sauve and Zack Phillips. However 79 seconds later the Giants were back on level terms with a Sebastien Sylvestre powerplay strike, assisted by David Rutherford and Cole Jarrett.
Tim Billingsley edged the Panthers in front again at 3:58, assisted by Eric Lindhagen and David Clarke.
John Kurtz and Mathieu Gagnon clashed at 14:31 as the pair dropped the gloves behind the Panthers goal.
The hosts pulled back onto level terms before the end of the opening period with Spiro Goulakos finishing cooly at 15:29, assisted by Colin Shields and Ryan Martinelli.
Ferland Edges Giants In Front
Jonathan Ferland grabbed the only goal of the middle period with a superb finish high into the Nottingham net at 31:40, assisted by Matt Towe and Cole Jarrett.
Giants Shutdown Panthers In Third
The Giants scored their deserved insurance goal at 54:47 when Sebastien Sylvestre finished off Brendan Connolly’s pass from the wing.
Brendan Connolly finished off the Belfast home win in style with an empty net finish at 59:53, assisted by Jonathan Ferland and John Kurtz.
Stena Line Belfast Giants 5-2 Nottingham Panthers
Giants Man of the Match
#6 Spiro Goulakos (1 Goal)
The Giants are next in action at home again this Saturday against the Nottingham Panthers. Face-off is 7pm at The SSE Arena.
Tickets are now on sale online at ticketmaster.ie as well as from the Arena Box Office either in person or by calling (028) 9073 9074.
GAME OVER – GIANTS WIN🎉🎉🎉
The Stena Line Belfast Giants take the weekend opener with a 5-2 win vs @PanthersIHC in Belfast!!
— Belfast Giants (@BelfastGiants) January 12, 2018