Coventry Blaze 2, Belfast Giants 7
Title chasers Belfast Giants kept the pressure up on league leaders Cardiff Devils by winning their game in hand this evening live on FreeSports.
An explosive opening period from the visitors saw them head in to the first break four goals ahead at the Skydome.
Patrick Dwyer scored Giants’ first 5-41 as he batted home a rebound through goaltender Matt Hackett’s five-hole.
A perfect pass from Blair Riley found Dwyer for a far post tap-in at 9-16 before poor rebound control from Hackett gave Jonathan Boxill the puck on a plate to slot home at 13-32.
Dwyer then completed a first period hat-trick with 46 seconds left in the opening session as he pounced on a bad turnover from the Blaze in their own zone and beat Hackett on the rebound with a nice move to score shorthanded.
Blaze Head Coach Danny Stewart’s intermission team-talk was undone 77 seconds into period two as Jonathan Ferland made it 5-0, but that goal was the last for the Giants for a while.
Alex Nikiforuk put Blaze on the board at 36-53 and then 65 seconds into the final period Ben Lake cut the deficit back to 2-5.
Blaze, on a man advantage chose to pull Hackett in favour of the extra attacker with well over five minutes to go and, after missing a couple of chances, Giants finally put the game well and truly to bed through Darcy Murphy at 55-12.
Colin Shields added to his Elite League record points total with the final goal of the game at 55-31 to complete a 7-2 win for the Giants.
Cardiff Devils have two fixtures left in the regular season and need a minimum of three points from a possible four to be crowned Elite League champions.
They play MK Lightning at the Viola Arena in Cardiff Bay on Saturday evening (7pm) before travelling to Coventry Blaze the next day (5.15pm).
ELITE ICE HOCKEY LEAGUE 2018/19
|Milton Keynes Lightning||57||15||38||4||34||.298||143||228||954||0-1|