The Stena Line Belfast Giants fell to their first defeat in five games with a 5-3 loss away against the Guildford Flames. Final period goals from Murphy, Connolly and Rutherford were not enough to salvage something from Sunday’s road game.
Despite the loss the Giants sit in second place in the Elite League standings with 29 points from 23 games, behind the Nottingham Panthers who have 31 points from 19 games.
Flames On Fire With Opening Period Double
The hosts got off to the best possible start as Brett Ferguson gave the Flames an early lead, scoring after 59 seconds, assisted by Liam Stewart and Calle Ackered.
Ackered grabbed a goal of his own minutes later with a powerplay strike at 7:09 to double Guildford’s lead.
Guildford Grab Three More In Middle Period
The middle period continued the dominance for the home side with Rhett Rachinski and Brett Ferguson extending the Flames lead early on.
First Rachinski netted at 22:56, assisted by Brett Ferguson and Geoff Walker, before Ferguson scored his second of the game at 23:04, assisted by Geoff Walker.
Walker made it a three point period when he fired home on the powerplay at 31:58 to give the home side a commanding 5-0 lead after 40 minutes of play.
Giants Stage Final Period Comeback
The Giants attempted to salvage something from the game with an impressive final period, however three unanswered goals were not enough.
Darcy Murphy got the visitors on the scoresheet at 43:17, assisted by Brendan Connolly, before Connolly turned from provider to scorer at 49:01 with a powerplay goal, assisted by Cole Jarrett.
David Rutherford pulled the Giants to within two goals at 54:09, assisted by Sebastien Sylvestre and Kevin Raine, however the away side could not find a way past Chris Carrozzi in the Flames net again.
The game ended in controversy as Blair Riley and Brendan Connolly both dropped the gloves at 59:56 with Brennan Yadlowski and Jesse Craige after the Referee had given Yadlowski a 2+10 misconduct for Checking from Behind.
Guildford Flames 5-3 Stena Line Belfast Giants
Giants Man of the Match:
#10 Sebastien Sylvestre
Belfast stay on the road with back-to-back away games against the Manchester Storm and Sheffield Steelers next Saturday and Sunday respectively.
The Giants next home games are against the Edinburgh Capitals and Braehead Clan on Friday 29th December and Saturday 30th December respectively. 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.
Photo: John Uwins