Sunday evening had the highest scoring game the SSE Arena has seen this season, with the Stena Line Belfast Giants scoring an astounding nine goals as Steve Saviano netted four. The Giants scored four of those in the first five minutes, and after taking this lead they never looked back, dominating the EIHL leaders in a fast paced, high scoring battle.
After five minutes, Darcy Murphy, Colin Shields, and Steve Saviano (x2) had given the Giants a comfortable 4-1 lead, and the game never got close again. Gerald Hanson and Mike Hammond of the Storm each added a goal to make the score 4-2 in favor of the Giants at the end of the first.
In the second, Saviano completed his hat-trick and added a fourth, Murphy scored his second, and Sylvestre got on the scoresheet to increase the lead to six goals. The Storm could not make a dent in this sizeable lead and it was soon clear the game was over.
Kurtz added insult to injury with the ninth Giants goal of the night early in the third, and the Storm added one more goal late, ending the game with the score 9-3.
Six First Period Goals as Giants Take Lead
The Giants got on the board fast, opening the scoring at 0:45 on a scrappy goal from Steve Saviano. The Storm’s goalie made a save and knocked the shot up into the air, where he lost track of it, and it ended up bouncing off of his back into the net before the Storm defenseman could knock it clear. The goal was unassisted.
It only took another two minutes for the Giants to tack on another, when Jim Vandermeer took advantage of sloppy play by the Storm in their defensive zone and sent a well threaded pass to Darcy Murphy, who converted to give the Giants a two goal lead at 2:55.
Things quickly got out of control after the second goal. 12 seconds later, at 3:07, the Giants took a 3-0 lead when Colin Shields scored on a simple wrist shot from the center of the offensive zone, assisted by Saviano and Spiro Goulakos.
Manchester cut into the lead another 30 seconds later, making it 3-1 at 3:31 when Gerald Hanson put one past Jackson Whistle. Scott Pitt was credited with the assist.
And of course this seemingly unsustainable pace of goals continued, with the Giants scoring a fourth at 5:18, this time with Saviano tapping the puck into a wide open net following a couple of smooth passes from Shields and Sebastien Sylvestre, who were credited with assists.
Things calmed down for a bit, with neither team scoring for an entire eight minutes, but the Storm made the game a little closer at 13:55 when Mike Hammond scored, assisted by Linden Springer and Hanson.
Giants Score Four More to Increase Lead
The Giants brought their lead back to three goals at 23:49 when Brendan Connolly pulled off a smooth spin move and slid the puck across the face of the net, where Murphy tapped in the Giants’ fifth goal of the night and his second of the night. Jonathan Ferland was also credited with an assist.
At 27:59 the Giants scored yet another one. Vandermeer fed a perfect pass out to Saviano at the point from the corner, who one-timed it into the bottom corner for a hat trick on the night.
Saviano scored his fourth of the night at 34:34 on the power play, when his deflected shot trickled past the Storm goalie. Assisted by Murphy and Vandermeer, for Vandermeer’s third assist of the night.
Saviano got his sixth point of the night at 39:16 when he assisted Sylvestre on the break to make it eight (!!) goals for the Giants through two periods. Colin Shields also was credited with an assist.
Giants Secure Easy Win
At 42:25, Kurtz scored a beautiful goal, coming in one on one with the goalie and flicking a backhanded chip shot into the roof of the net for the Giants ninth goal. This was assisted by Blair Riley.
The Storm scored one final goal at 57:35 after a long penalty kill. This final goal was scored by Luke Moffat assisted by Ryan Trenz.
Stena Line Belfast Giants 9-3 Manchester Storm
Giants Man of the Match
#12 Steve Saviano
Photo: Press Eye