Christmas joy for Giants and Blaze

Belfast Giants’ Player/Coach Derrick Walser was a happy man after his team extended their winning run to three against Cardiff Devils on Wednesday night.

Goals from Brandon Benedict and Matt Nickerson saw the Giants defeat the Elite League leaders 2-0 at the SSE Arena, to move four points behind the Welsh club with three games in hand.

Walser commented: “It was our best game of the year. We shut them down in the neutral zone, didn’t give up too many odd man rushes and constantly put pressure on them.

“We’re starting to figure out how to play with type of consistency we need and it’s great to see. We didn’t take our foot off the gas in the final period and it was a real team effort.”

Coventry Blaze also reeled off a third successive victory as they beat Dundee Stars 5-1 on Tayside.

Jordan Pietrus (2), Carl Lauzon (2) and Josh Godfrey got the goals which lifted them into eighth place in the table ahead of back-to-back games with Cardiff Devils over Christmas.

Head Coach Chuck Weber said: “It was a very professional performance. We talked about making a good start and we went up 1-0.

“We then had a huge five-on-three kill in the first period and had a huge five-on-three powerplay in the second which was the difference.

“They got it back to 2-1, but on the next shift we scored and that killed any of their momentum. We executed the game-plan and we were clinical. It was a really solid effort.”

Weber singled out Lauzon for special praise after this two goal haul. The Canadian forward is in a rich vein of form registering five goals and six assists in his last 10 games.

“Carl is being rewarded offensively and is playing better defensively and playing on the proper side of the puck,” said Weber.

“He has a lot of talent and he is dangerous every time he is on the ice and he creates a lot of offence for us.

“He is finding that if we can eliminate teams’ offense, he is having more time in the offensive zone and he had two great finishes against Dundee.”

(Image permission: Andy Gibson)

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