Giants edge first-leg in Belfast

The Genting Casino Coventry Blaze return home from SSE Arena with a single goal to turn around (1-2) at Skydome Arena when they face the Belfast Giants in the second-leg of the Elite League Playoff Quarter-Finals.

Blaze travelled to Belfast for the first-leg without 20-goal forward Alessio Luciani who was left home due to illness. J.D. Dudek returned to the forward line-up, giving Coventry a full compliment of imports.

Giants went into the two-legged tie without influential defenceman Jeff Baum and they opted to start in-form Brit Jackson Whistle in net, ahead of Canadian Tyler Beskorowany.

Whistle was forced into the biggest save of the opening period, denying Tyler Kirkup in-close.

At the opposite end, Taran Kozun was kept busy, but the visitors were successful in keeping the reigning playoff champions to the outside for much of the first twenty minutes.

It took just 19 seconds for the Giants to find a way through in the second period, though, when Greg Printz’s smart pass from behind the net found Oliver Cooper who finished neatly in-tight.

The first penalty of the night came at 24.35 when Cameron Pound was sent to the box for tripping.

Blaze needed just 23 seconds to find the equaliser through Mitch Cook on the man advantage. The assist going to the creative Dudek.

Belfast were penalised again 25 seconds later when Ben Lake was called for elbowing, but this time the home side were able to kill the penalty off.

Nathan Ripley of Blaze was then assessed an interference penalty at 30.47 which gave Giants the opportunity to re-gain their lead.

The goal came via a fortuitous bounce off the skate of Lake following Daniel Tedesco’s feed in front of Kozun’s net at 31.28. The goal was Lake’s 199th point for Belfast after moving to the Giants from Coventry.

Blaze Captain Brady Norrish was next sent to the box for interference at 32.08, but Coventry were able to kill and the period ended 1-2.

Coventry continued to play their smart road game in the third, and with the referee’s keeping the whistles in their pockets, the period was largely played out leaving the tie wide open and a winner to be decided on Sunday at Skydome Arena (5.30pm).

Photo credit, Darren Kidd



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